Bacolod mayoral aspirant Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez confirmed Monday, February 7, that he and 22 other PDP Laban members from around the country signed a manifesto of support for presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
A video “BBM VLOG 197: Handang Handa Na!” on Marcos’ Facebook page shows Benitez, the billionaire former congressman of the 3rd District of Negros Occidental, handing the manifesto of support to him.
Benitez, who is the PDP Laban Cusi wing head for Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, said “My personal choice is mine alone. I have never and will never impose upon my local partymates and on others as well. At the start, we have always agreed that we will not support one common national candidate.
“Each is free to support his/her national candidate because we respect each others’ choices. I and my team Asenso remain committed to affecting a vision of change for a better Bacolod”.
Three councilor aspirants on the Asenso Bacolod team of Benitez – Celia Flor, Patrick Lacson and Sonja Verdeflor, said they will continue to campaign for Vice President Leni Robredo, while their other teammates have their own choices.
Kalaw Puentevella, also an Asenso aspirant for councilor, said he is supporting Senator Manny Pacquiao for president. They are thankful that right from the start Benitez respected their personal choices for president and gave them a free hand to campaign for their bets, he added.
Asenso Bacolod will focus on the local campaign and will not endorse national candidates as a group, Flor said.
Marcos will not be included in the Asenso Bacolod tarpaulins and will not join their campaign activities, she said.
“I respect Albee’s choice in the same way that he respected my choice from the onset and still respects it,” she said.
Flor said when she was invited to join the Asenso Bacolod team she told Benitez she would support Robredo no matter what the surveys say because she believes in her and that she will win.
When Robredo ran for vice president she had a 1 percent rating when she started and she won, Flor said.
“I am campaigning openly for Leni, a lot of our leaders are for Leni,” Flor said.
Lacson said even before the filing of their certificates of candidacies they agreed as a team that each member will have the freedom to support the presidential candidate of their choice.
“We are happy that our leader, Albee Benitez, respects the position of everyone,” he said.
“I believe Albee will be the better mayor for Bacolod, in the same way I think Leni will be the better president,” he said, adding that they also have their own choices for vice president and senators.
Lacson said he is for Benitez because he believes there will be zero corruption in Bacolod.
Verdeflor said she will continue to support Robredo for president, and their other Asenso Bacolod teammates have their own choices.
“Marcos will not join our rallies,” she said.
Vladimir Gonzalez, an Asenso Bacolod candidate for councilor, said he has his personal choice for president but he will keep it to himself.*