BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Nationalist People’s Coalition Senator Vicente Sotto yesterday said they will not intervene on what is being perceived to be a “battle royale” between incumbent Mayor Evelio Leonardia and former Rep. Alfredo Benitez, who will be challenging against each for the mayoralty post of Bacolod City in the May 2022 elections.
Sotto, who visited Negros Occidental yesterday with Senator Panfilo Lacson, said that Leonardia is a party mate and his “kumpadre”, while he described Benitez as a “long-time friend” stressing that he would rather leave it to the locals.
This is really a problem, admitted Sotto, who declared his intention to run for vice president in tandem with Lacson, who also declared that he will run for president in next year’s elections during a press conference at the Ruins in Talisay City.
Lacson said that they will not intervene in the local competition between Leonardia and Benitez, stressing also that the two are his friends.
He also described the father of Gov. Lacson as a “good friend.”
He added that Partido Reporma and NPC are now discussing possible alliances with the PDP-Laban faction of Senator Manny Pacquiao and the National Unity Party.
Former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. president of Partido Reporma who accompanied Lacson and Sotto, yesterday confirmed his meeting with Pacquiao on September 15 for a “possible alliance” between the party, where Lacson is their presidential candidate and the PDP-Laban Pacquiao faction.
Sotto and Lacson, who were also accompanied by former GSIS president Clint Aranas and Davao del Norte Gov. Edwin Jubahib said that they are also expecting the support of Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and other NPC members in Negros Occidental.
Former Kabankalan City Mayor Isidro Zayco is the NPC provincial chairman.*