BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
After weeks of speculation, mayoralty bet Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez finally bared yesterday his Asenso Bacolod “unity ticket,” composed of old, new, pro or anti, and independent candidates, belonging to different political parties.
Benitez said he had sought a unity ticket, as he wanted to come up with a diversity of candidates that would represent the future of Bacolod City.
Of the 12 councilor aspirants, Benitez said six of them are members of the PDP-Laban, two from the Nationalist People’s Coalition, one each from Lakas-CMD and Promdi, while he described the two other feisty independent candidates.
The Asenso for Better Bacolod unity ticket, composed of former Bacolod City Councilor Caesar Distrito as the vice mayoral bet of Benitez, with women councilor aspirants, including Celia Flor and Sonia Verdeflor, Simple Distrito and Pao Sy, as well as Patrick Leonard Lacson, Homer Bais, Thaddy Sayson, Al Victor Espino, Vladimer Gonzales, Bart Orola, Jason Villarosa and Kalaw Puentevella.
The composition of this diversity, according to Benitez, is what Bacolod is today.
“We would not leave anybody behind, because this is a representation of all the people in Bacolod, where we will bring to progress and change,” stressed Benitez during a press conference at his residence in Mountain View Subdivision, Brgy. Mandalagan, Bacolod City.
In behalf of the entire Asenso Bacolod ticket, Atty. Andrie Normal Saril, counsel of Benitez, yesterday filed their respective Certificates of Candidacy before the City Comelec office.
Noting also what he calls color-coding governance in Bacolod City, Benitez said “this time there will be no color”. “The red will not turn to pink, it will be white. The black will not turn to gray, it will be white”. It is because the visions and our platforms are clear”.
The Grupo Progreso of incumbent Mayor Evelio Leonardia is identified with the color red, while white appears to be the color of Benitez group.
Benitez, if given a chance, said that his administration will be program-based. We will deal how to deliver basic services in a much easier fashion, and easier way, alleging that it is difficult for the people of Bacolod now to access the delivery of services, due to the current system of governance.
Through the course of our campaign, and if eventually given the support, Benitez, who served as congressman of the Negros Occidental 3rd district for nine years, and more than two years as investment consultant of the provincial government; said that his administration will not be jaded.
“I don’t think that the people of Bacolod would want to have a compromise in governance,” he also stressed.
Benitez said he respects the decision of reelectionist Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya to remain neutral in the Bacolod City mayoralty race.
Whether he would stay with Mayor Bing Leonardia, neutral or transfer to us, or whatever his decision, Benitez said “I feel that he is doing good and performed as a congressman of Bacolod City,” stressing also support for his reelection.
Wherever he is going, Congressman Greg will have my vote, he also stressed.
Benitez, who is the president of the PDP-Laban (Cusi faction)-Negros Occidental chapter, said that they have no presidential candidate to be supported, as of this time, stressing that they will wait until October 8, which is the deadline for the filing of CoC for the May 2022 elections.*