Former Councilor Caesar Distrito announced Saturday, October 2, that he is running for vice mayor of Bacolod City under the ticket of former Rep. Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez, along with some Grupo Progreso (GP) councilors.
Benitez is running for the top post of Bacolod City against Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who heads GP.
Other GP allies who announced that they have joined the Benitez camp are incumbent councilors Bartolome Orola and Simple Distrito – Caesar’s mother, who are running for reelection in 2022.
They will be joined by Pao Sy, daughter of the late Councilor Elmer Sy.
Distrito said Councilor Al Victor Espino is also set to join the Benitez team.
Incumbent Vice Mayor El Cid Famliaran, who is seeking reelection, said he respects the decision of Caesar Distrito, he has nothing against him.
“I have a high regard for him…may the best man win,” Familiaran said.
Familiaran said he has no comment on the other GP allies who joined the Benitez camp.
Leonardia could not be reached for comment.
Distrito, a three-term councilor, said at a press conference that after consulting his family, relatives, leaders and supporters, especially in barangays Singcang Airport and Magsungay, he accepted the invitation of Benitez to be his runningmate in the 2022 local elections.
“I looked into the programs and the problems on where former Congressman Albee Benitez wants to focus and resolve, I have to agree, this will change the system that Bacolod City had been used to years ago,” he added.
Distrito also said he is humbled by the invitation of Benitez to be his runningmate.
“Who would think that a Person With Disability, a product of a poor community in Magsungay, the son of a sidewalk/fish vendor and a security guard, and a product of the public education system who eventually became a lawyer, could possibly be given the opportunity to become the second highest official of Bacolod City,” he said.
Distrito said he also has a Mass Communication degree, a masters in Public Administration, and is finishing his doctorate in Public Administration.
His practice as a lawyer and professor, and executive and legislative experience will surely help him become an effective presiding officer of the city council, he said.
OTHER COUNCILOR BETS
Orola, at the press conference, said he decided to join Benitez after he “explained to us his major plans for Bacolod, including the rehabilitation of the dilapidated Libertad, Central and Burgos public markets”.
“Being the chairman of the Committee on Markets and Slaughterhouse, I had lobbied and requested for the major renovation and rehabilitation of the three public markets and this is among my major advocacies,” Orola said.
He is also seeking reelection because he wants to see the completion of a fishport project in Barangay Banago that he has lobbied for and is now in the finalization stage prior to its construction, Orola said.
He said while he has a good relationship with Leonardia, “I need to consider what is best for the city and the people of Bacolod”.
“To make a wise decision, I had consulted my family, my people and leaders. I had also asked the opinion of the people in the streets, those in the coffee shops and even in the markets. Most of them said that it is for the best interest of the City if I will join the group of Albee Benitez,” he added.
Simple Distrito, who also announced her seeking reelection under the Benitez ticket, said “I believe that hunger can be avoided, jobs can be produced, lives can be saved and illnesses can be healed as long as our government should become more responsive and sensitive to the needs of our constituents”.
She thanked Leonardia for giving her the chance to run as councilor in 2019 under his ticket, adding that they will go their separate ways without “any rancor or ill-feelings”.
Sy said she is running for councilor because like her father “I want to serve and to help as many as I can, with less talk, and more action.”*