BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Reelectionist Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez yesterday strongly debunked accusations that they are transporting “voter registrants” from the 3rd district of Negros Occidental to Bacolod City, to boost chances of his elder brother, Alfredo Benitez, in winning the mayoralty post.
“I told all the voters that I’ve met to register here (3rd district), since I need all their votes, Benitez said.
Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center Task Force executive director Em Ang earlier described the ongoing satellite registration of the Commission on Election at the University of St. La Salle and malls in Bacolod City , as a “super spreader” activity with the hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective out-of-town transferee-voters being unloaded from trucks, buses and ambulances and Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) vehicles of different Negros Occidental local government units.
“Why would I do that when I need their votes here,” Benitez stressed during a press conference on October 3 in Brgy. Caliban, Murcia, Negros Occidental.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia also described as “unusual” the influx of Comelec registrants in Bacolod City, after former Rep. Benitez declared his intention to run for mayor, which the former suspects to have originated from different towns of Negros Occidental.
In response to a question how he would help his brother, Rep. Benitez said that he will tell his constituents who have friends and relatives in Bacolod City “to testify on what we do here in the 3rd district, as it will be replicated in Bacolod” if his elder brother wins.
The family of Benitez was also criticized in the social media and their detractors of creating a political dynasty in Negros Occidental.
“There can be no such thing as political dynasty if the electorate does not allow,” Rep. Benitez stressed.
Rep. Benitez is seeking for a reelection as 3rd district congressman, while his elder brother, Alfredo, whom he succeeded in the district, is running for mayor of Bacolod City, and his nephew, Javi, is also running for mayor of Victorias City.
We have put ourselves out there, because of the sincere desire, I believe, for public service. The bottom line, is the capacity to serve, not just the desire to serve, Rep. Benitez stressed.
At the end of the day, it is the right of the people whom they will have to choose, he added.
PDP-LABAN (CUSI WING) CANDIDATE
Rep. Benitez also announced yesterday that his elder brother, Albee, is the official candidate of PDP-Laban (Cusi faction) for the Bacolod City mayoralty post, with Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) was already signed by the party national office.
Albee, who was appointed last week as provincial president of the party, was authorized to sign CONAs for candidates of the party in the Negros Occidental and Bacolod City except for the positions of governor, mayor of Bacolod and congressman.*