BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The United Negros Alliance (UNegA) yesterday clarified that the party’s coalition with Love Negros remains intact despite their members’ different preferences for presidential candidate to support in the coming May 2022 elections.
“We are a democracy. Our members are also affiliated with different national political parties. And we have a multi-party system that is why we have different choices for president and vice-president to give our support to,” UNegA secretary Salvador Escalante said.
The arrangement, therefore, makes the Love Negros and UNeGa a unique coalition because their bond is more rooted on local issues affecting their respective constituencies, Escalante added.
“Let it be made clear that our relationships are not dictated by our choices of national candidates. As the saying goes, all politics are local,” said Escalante, one of the two Negros Occidental mayors who openly support the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Escalante and Sagay City Mayor Alfredo Marañon III, the UNeGa party chairman, together with Second District Rep. Leo Rafael “Bebo” Cueva, endorsed Robredo at the Sagay City rally that drew an estimated crowd of 20,000.
They later rejoined Robredo at the grand rally at the Paglaum Sports Complex attended by 70,000 Kakampinks, the biggest political rally of the vice president since the campaign began.
Also at the Paglaum event was Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose “Bong” Lacson, who welcomed and endorsed Robredo at her San Carlos City sortie at the Bishop’s Compound of Monsignor Gerardo Alminaza with an estimated 4,000 attendees.
Lacson again endorsed Robredo at Paglaum before the mammoth record-setting crowd and then took the honors to introduce her.
On the other hand, the UNegA president, Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer, and 28 mayors, are supporting the tandem of presidential bet Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Former Third District Rep. Albee Benitez, one of the top leaders of Love Negros and a mayoralty candidate in Bacolod City, earlier issued a manifesto that he is also supporting BBM.
Also at the People’s Rally of Hope at Paglaum Sports Complex were Bacolod Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and several Grupo Progreso councilors.*