Escalante: Marañon, Benitez agreed to unite
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member Salvador Escalante, Jr., who also serves as secretary-general for the United Negros Alliance (UNegA), recently confirmed there is nothing final on the possible unity ticket between his party and Love Negros.
According to Escalante, Abang Lingkod partylist Rep. Stephen Paduano is not privy to talks between the two local political coalitions, stating, discussions have only been between Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. and third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez. However, Escalante said the two met last week and have already agreed to unite.
Earlier this week, Paduano claimed Benitez would not run in the 2019 polls on a unity ticket.
He also revealed, if the talks should fail, Benitez would run for governor with incumbent Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson running for a final term. Although, he also suggested the possibility of Lacson running for governor and Love Negros fielding a new candidate for vice governor.
However, if negotiations succeed, Paduano said the official position of Love Negros indicates Lacson would run for governor and UNegA would run a candidate for vice governor.
“That is the official position of Love Negros and Benitez,” Paduano claimed.
Paduano said Benitez is willing to sacrifice himself to unite Negros Occidental and Lacson, as an incumbent, has the “moral authority” to become governor.
Aside from the gubernatorial post, Benitez’s name has also been floated as a possible senatorial candidate in the 2019 polls under the ruling PDP-Laban./DGB, WDJ