By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
July 4, 2017

The five mayors of the Negros Occidental third congressional district publicly endorsed their local representative, Alfredo Benitez, for governor in 2019.

Victorias City Mayor Frederick Palanca, EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon, Silay City Mayor Mark Golez, Talisay City Mayor Neil Lizares, and Murcia Mayor Andrew Montelibano all said they would support him if he declares a gubernatorial run.

The congressman, however, who is in his third and final term, would not give a definitive answer on his 2019 intentions.

Back in March, incumbent Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr., who is also in his third and final term, called Benitez “one of the good bets” for governor.

Earlier, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez considered Benitez as a possible senatorial candidate, with the congressman responding, “There are still a lot of things to weigh in before a decision is made.”

When asked whom he will field to fill his congressional seat, Benitez said nobody in his family has intentions of entering politics.

Abang Lingkod Party-list Rep. Stephen Paduano, meanwhile, revealed he would prefer Benitez follow the advice of the speaker and run for Senate.

“The problem of Negros is bigger than we all think,” Paduano said. “Negros is still not in good shape.”/WDJ