Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, who will be challenged by former Rep. Jose Carlos Lacson for the third congressional seat of Negros Occidental in the May 2013 polls, yesterday said, “Let my performance speak for itself.”
“It’s sometimes good that we have opponents during elections because it validates our performance. We will know whether we have done good for the district or not,” he said.
Benitez filed his Certificate of Candidacy before the provincial COMELEC in Bacolod at noon yesterday, and Lacson is set to file his at 9 a.m. today.
At a press conference, Benitez said he sees Lacson as a force to contend with. “Any opponent is a force to contend with,” he said.
His mayoral candidates for the third district are Andrew Montelibano (NPC) - Murcia, Eric Saratan (LP) – Talisay City, Jose Montelibano (LP) Silay City, David Lacson (NPC) – EB Magalona, and Francis Frederick Palanca (LP) – Victorias City, Benitez said.
Benitez also admitted that while he declared the LP support for NPC gubernatorial bet Genaro Alvarez Jr. and his running mate Eugenio Jose Lacson, LP mayors in Negros Occidental are not solidly behind them.
So in cases where LP mayors supporting the reelection bid of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. are challenged by NPC bets, he said their areas will be declared free zones.
But he assured that he will continue to support all LP candidates in the province, even in free zones.
Among the 12 LP mayors in Negros Occidental, the eight supporting Marañon are Marxlen De la Cruz – Don Salvador Benedicto (first district); Leo Rafael Cueva – Sagay, Patrick Escalante – Cadiz and Ma. Lourdes Socorro Escalante – Manapla (second district); Jose Montelibano – Silay (third district), Francisco Nazareno – Moises Padilla, Emmanuel Aranda – Binalbagan and Alberto Nicor Jr. – La Castellana (fifth district).
Benitez said local bets will be given leeway on their choices at the local level, but those who do not support the LP national candidates will face strict party discipline.
He has given certificates of nomination to all LP mayors in Negros Occidental, Benitez said.
Benitez maintained that his relationship with Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco is good, “I don’t think it’s ever turned sour,” he said.
“I think the Liberal Party is very clear in its stand, it is honoring the partnership between LP and NPC,” he said.
On talk that he will be the next leader of Negros politics after Cojuangco, Benitez said that only creates animosity.
“When you talk of leadership, I think that that is not given or taken, it is basically earned. I think when people talk to me regarding that, maybe they are looking for some sort of leadership (and) they feel, I am on the right track. But asking for it, demanding for it, is probably the farthest in my mind,” he said.
Board Member Patrick Lacson, who was at Benitez’s press conference, said “Politics makes strange bed fellows...if we seem confused with the mix of allies from different parties, it is simply because of our multi-party system in the country.”
“I firmly believe we must study and lobby as a nation to bring back the two party system,” he added.
Also at the press conference were Palanca, Silay Vice Mayor Mark Golez, third district board member bet Johnna Ko and her husband, Board Member Manuel Frederick Ko, and Carapali Lualhati, Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade national commander.*CPG