Lacson, Sotto not taking sides in Bacolod’s mayoral race

Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III flanked by Clint Aranas (left) and Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez at The Ruins in Talisay City Thursday, September 16.*CPG photo

Senator Panfilo Lacson, who is running for president in the 2022 elections, said it is best that they do not interfere in local politics.

Lacson, who held a press conference with Senate President Vicente Sotto III at The Ruins in Talisay City, was responding to a question on who their tandem will support for mayor of Bacolod City in 2022.

Sotto said it is a problem because he is the kumpadre of Mayor Evelio Leonardia and a long time friend of former Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez.

Benitez is running against Leonardia for mayor of Bacolod in 2022.

“We are friends with both camps,” Sotto said.

Lacson said, “sometimes it is best that we don’t interfere in whatever competition is going on in the local (level), especially if they are both friends and allies.”

“It is better that we are friends with everybody,” he said.

Asked if their tandem will have the support of Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, Sotto said the governor has publicly pronounced that he will support the candidates of his party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

“We are his party,” said Sotto, pointing out that he is the chairman of NPC and he is supporting Senator Lacson who is the chairman of Partido para sa Demokratikong Reporma.

Sotto said they are working on an NPC, Reporma and National Unity Party alliance.

An alliance with the PDP-Laban faction of Senator Manny Pacquiao is also in the works, Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez (Davao Del Norte, 1st District), said.

Alvarez, who is Reporma president, said he met with Pacquiao and they agreed to an alliance between his party and the PDP Laban Pacquiao wing.

“Both of us agreed that the alliance will be for the purpose of winning the presidential elections…the point is to form a united front against the administration,” he said.

They did not discuss if Pacquiao, who has plans to also run for president, is willing to slide down, Alvarez said.

“This is politics so anything is possible, “ he added.

Meanwhile, until now the administration has no candidate for president yet, Alvarez said.

Sotto said they were in the province to hold consultative meetings with local officials on how Bacolod and Negros Occidental are faring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They also want to feel the pulse of the people, he said.

Lacson said they are forming their platform of government, and he wants to see more resources disbursed to the provinces.

When Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became president in 2001 the national budget was P800 billion and next year it will be P5 trillion, he said.

However, when you go around you do not see the resources that were supposed to have been poured into the development of the countryside, Lacson said.

There is a need to reinvent the bureaucracy to give local governments more autonomy for development, he added.

Lacson and Sotto were accompanied by Clint Aranas – former president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System, Davao Del Norte Gov. Edwin Jubahib, and former Rep. Arnel Ty (LPG Marketers’ Association Partylist).*

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