3-cornered fight for governor in 2019?



BY CARLA GOMEZ
on Thursday, July 6, 2017

Will the race for governor of Negros Occidental in 2019 be a three-cornered fight, or will two of the major contenders join forces?

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. is on his third and last term, leaving the field for governor in 2019 wide open.

Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday said running for governor in 2019 is a consideration, but he has yet to make a decision. He will announce his plans forthe 2019polls in October next year.

Former Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer yesterday told the DAILY STAR running for governor or vice governor are options he may consider, since his wife Juliet Marie Ferrer is doing well in his previous post as congressional representative of the fourth district of Negros Occidental.

Marañon, an ally of Ferrer in the United Negros Alliance, has announced that he will support Rep. Alfredo AbelardoBenitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) if he runs for governor or senator in 2019.

The mayors of the third district on Monday also said they will support Benitez if he runs for governor, or for whatever post he decides on.

Both Benitez and Marañon now belong to PDP Laban, the national party of President Rodrigo Duterte.

No confirmation has been made on whether Benitez and Ferrer have discussed plans for 2019. Benitez said he has not decided on what post to run for in 2019, he is still weighing his options.

Lacson, who won against Ferrer in the race for vice governor in 2016, is a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition headed by Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco. He and Benitez also belong to the local group Love Negros.

The vice governor said he is not surprised that the mayors of the third district announced their support for Benitez should he run from governor, “I know they will support the congressman for whatever position he will run for”.

Lacson said his only question is, have they lost sight of supporting Benitez all the way to the Senate, “I hope their pronouncement does not mean they have given up hope”.

“We in the first district have not given up hope on having a senator from the third district in 2019…it is an exciting possibility,” Lacson added.

He said the endorsement by the third district mayors for Benitez for governorcould have been a spur of the moment reaction from them.

It is really up to Benitez what position he will run for, he and the congressman belong to the same group and he does not want to fuel any misunderstanding, Lacson said.

“I value friendship very much…At this point in time I have no doubt, that as a group, we are together, we are united,”Lacson said, in apparent reference to Love Negros.

Lacsonsaid he and Benitez have not decided on what to run for, but have somewhat talked about 2019.

Talk of a tandem between Benitez and Sagay Mayor Alfredo Marañon III in the 2019 polls is all speculation, Lacson also said.

Lacson said he will not be close minded on the 2019 election, he will consider what is best for the province in making a decision.

Meanwhile, Lacson gave President Duterte a passing rate in his first year in office.

The president has maintained the GDP rate as far as the economy is concerned and his idea of build, build, build, is on the right track, Lacson said.

Lacson said he is also preparing a report on his first year performance to be released this month.*CPG