Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol is likely to be endorsed as the official candidate of the United Negros Alliance for the 5th district congressional seat in the June 2 special elections, although party members will decide this during a consensus meeting on March 31.
This was after Governor Alfredo Maranon Jr. revealed yesterday that Board Member Melvin Ibañez has signified his decision not to run for the position and will instead support Mirasol.
Mirasol and Ibañez had been reported to be vying for the endorsement of UNA.
In an interview in Moises Padilla, Maranon said Ibañez may no longer join the UNA meeting on Saturday, that is expected to be participated in by congressmen, mayors and the vice-governor.
The 5th district congressional seat was declared vacant by the House of Representatives, after the death of Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo in London on Jan. 26.
Asked for his comment on the reported withdrawal of Ibañez, Mirasol, said “With due respect to Board (Member Ibañez), I’ll leave it to him. We will finish first the UNA meeting”.
Ibañez could not be reached for comment as of last night.
In another interview in Binalbagan, Mirasol said that any endorsement from Maria Lourdes Arroyo-Lesaca, elder sister of Iggy, and from businesswoman Grace Ibuna will be a big factor, in his bid for the congressional seat.
Ibuna earlier hinted of her support to Mirasol.
Mirasol also disclosed that Lesaca had called and informed him Sunday that she is no longer interested to join the congressional race and that she had also thanked him for the support they had extended to Iggy, he added.
Board Member Emilio Yulo III, a nephew of Mirasol, said he has officially declared his availability to run for congressman of the 5th district, and is open to a coalition or alliance with other groups.
Rep. Alfredo Benitez, Liberal Party provincial chairman, has also said that the LP will support whoever is the UNA candidate in the special election.
As a member of UNA, Moises Padilla Mayor Francisco Nazareno said he will support its candidate. “We heard that Bebot (Mirasol) is most likely to be endorsed because here, in the 5th district, he was the one who joined PNoy in the election, while we supported Gibo (former Defense secretary Gilberto Teodoro)”.
Mirasol, who has been in the government service for about 17 years, said Iggy helped a lot in the development of Binalbagan.
He said he was also assured of support by Nazareno, former La Castellana Mayor Enrico Elumba, and former Board Member Tanting Tuvilla, while Hinigaran Mayor Hermilo Aguilar’s choices will depend on the decision of UNA.
“Whatever decision is arrived at in the UNA meeting, I will abide as a party member,” Mirasol said.
Yulo, on the other hand, said Himamaylan Mayor Agustin Ernesto Bascon and Vice-Mayor Carminia Bascon have declared their support for him.
Other likely contenders are former Isabela Mayor Renato Malabor and former Board Member Enrique Montilla, a nephew of the late Rep. Arroyo and Lesaca.
Former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who was at the Moises Padilla town fiesta, enjoined the candidates to campaign on issues and platforms, and not attack each other.*GPB/LTG