By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña recently expressed concern over who will become the next governor of Negros Occidental, as incumbent Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. is currently in his third and final term.
The mayor said he hopes the next governor will be aggressive against criminality and illegal drugs, claiming, had Rodrigo Duterte not won the presidency, the province would have become “shabu-lized,” as Iloilo had been earlier labeled.
With regard to Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez, who was endorsed to run for Senate in 2019 by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, during the PDP-Laban mass oath-taking earlier this week in Victorias City, Peña said he had no problem with the congressman making a senatorial run.
Benitez had previously be considered a possible candidate for governor after being unanimously endorsed by the mayors of his district, however, the legislator has since said he does not intend to pursue the governorship as he would prefer not to run against Love Negros partymate, incumbent Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, who previously expressed an interest in the position.
Also in consideration for a gubernatorial run are former Negros Occidental fourth district Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer, who unsuccessfully ran for vice governor in 2016; and the governor’s son, Sagay City Mayor Alfredo Marañon III./WDJ