BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
It appears that there is now a groundswell of support of Negrense local officials for the tandem of former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer yesterday led the 25 of 31 Negros Occidental mayors, two solons and six board members, who gave their commitment to support the presidential bid of Marcos and his vice-presidential candidate, Duterte-Carpio.
Ferrer met with 25 Negros Occidental mayors during a meeting on December 11 at the Stonehill Suites hotel in Bacolod City, which also followed by another meeting with BBM-Sara volunteers yesterday, that was attended by Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Benhur Abalos.
Those who expressed their support to the BBM-Sara tandem, according to Ferrer, were Escalante City Mayor Melecio Yap, Don Salvador Benedicto Mayor Marxlen dela Cruz, Toboso Mayor Richard Jaojoco, Cadiz City Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr, Sagay City Vice Mayor Narwin Javelosa, who is unopposed in the mayoralty race, all the mayors of 3rd and 4th districts of Negros Occidental, Himamaylan City Mayor Raymund Tongson, Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol, La Castellana Mayor Alme Rhummyla Nicor-Mangilimutan, Moises Padilla Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo, Isabela Vice Mayor Renato Malabor Jr, Cauayan Mayor John Rey Tabujara, Hinobaan Mayor Ernesto Estrao, mayoralty aspirant Daph Anthony Reliquias of Hinobaan, Hinigaran mayoralty aspirant Michelle Peralta
The two Negros solons that declared their support to BBM-Sara tandem were Lakas CMD Rep. Maria Lourdes Arroyo (5th district, Negros Occ), who is the sister-in-law of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Rep. Juliet Ferrer (4th district, Negros Occ), granddaughter of the late Ambassador Roberto Salas Benedicto and wife of Vice Gov. Ferrer.
Negros Occidental board members, who also expressed their support to the BBM-Sara tandem, were Andrew Montelibano, Samson Mirhan, Jose Benito Alonso, Valentino Miguel Alonso, Ernesto Agustin Bascon and Ryan Gamboa, who represents the Philippine Councilor’s League-Negros Occidental chapter, in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Ferrer, who is a member of the National Unity Party, said that he and Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, who is affiliated with the Nationalist People’s Coalition, have agreed to respect whoever to be supported by the 31 mayors, in the presidential and vice-presidential race.
More BBM-Sara tandem volunteers were also met yesterday by Ferrer at the Stonehill Suits in Bacolod City, which also attended by Metro Manila Development Authority chairperson Benhur Abalos, who is the campaign manager of BBM-Sara tandem.
Abalos, who is the BBM-Sara campaign manager, said he is hoping that President Rodrigo Duterte will support and endorse the BBM-Sara tandem.
Aside from his wife and Rep. Arroyo, Ferrer said he expects that Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez (3rd district, Negros Occ), will also support the tandem, after all mayors in his district pledged their support to Marcos and Duterte-Carpio.
Abalos claimed that Marcos is now enjoying an overwhelming support in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, who also got the highest rating among all presidential candidates.
“This is a testimony that people want the partnership of Marcos and Duterte,” he further claimed.
The UniTeam of Marcos and Duterte-Carpio is being expected to arrive in January next year, according to Abalos.
Ferrer also presented other supporters of the BBM-Sara tandem, including former Murcia Mayor Sonny Coscolluela and ex- Valladolid Ricardo Presbitero, former Board Members Melvin Ybanez and Gary Acuna, UNIFED president Manolet Lamata, Dave Alba of Asosacion de Agricultures De la Carlota Y Pontevedra, Negros Occidental Gun Club president Janet Gonzaga, retired P/Col. William Senoron of ABC- Sara Padayona Negros movement, among others, to Abalos.
On the other hand, Tongson was also swore in as a new member of the Partido Federal Pilipinas, a political party of Marcos Jr.*