By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña yesterday endorsed Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez for governor in the upcoming 2019 midterm elections.
In a statement forwarded to Watchmen Daily Journal, the mayor said he conducted background checks of most provincial officials and the results affirmed the congressman and his family are not involved in illegal drug activities.
Peña noted, Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. and mayors within the United Negros Alliance (UNegA) coalition are inclined to support Benitez.
He also believes Benitez can fully finance mayors belonging to both UNegA and the congressman’s own local coalition, Love Negros.
“If he will do this, he can do as well [and] revive a [united party], just like before the elections in 2013,” Peña said.
He explained, Benitez is capable of fixing local problems, such as illegal drugs and the communist insurgency, by offering jobs that pay three times the daily minimum wage rate.
Peña added, if Benitez fixes the problems in Negros as governor, he would be far more recognized on a national level and could win a senatorial post if he decides to run for the position.
Earlier, former Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member Patrick Lacson launched a signature campaign, urging Benitez to run for governor.
However, incumbent Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson called the push “premature,” adding, the plan may create the impression of a power struggle within Love Negros, of which he and Benitez are both affiliated./DGB, WDJ