By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Abang Lingkod partylist Rep. Stephen Paduano yesterday confirmed he would not run for Bacolod City mayor in the upcoming 2019 elections.
“As far as running for mayor in the city of Bacolod is concerned, I will no longer pursue it,” he stated. “The only option left for me now is to seek a third term as partylist congressman.”
The legislator noted, with Bacolod City Councilor Ricardo Tan “hellbent” on running for mayor, he believes it would be difficult to defeat incumbent Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia in a three-way race.
“With him (Tan) and me running against Leonardia, how can we win?” he asked.
Paduano also affirmed he has no association with political groups within the city, vowing to only support 2016 congressional candidate and former Bacolod City Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson if he were to seek office.
The congressman had earlier considered retirement but said, after speaking with Negros Occidental third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez, it is “no longer an option.”
He added, there is still a lot of work to do in Congress and, with Benitez no longer in Congress after the 2019 polls, it is up to him to ensure the existence and to strengthen the Visayan bloc.
Paduano made headlines last July after transferring his voter registration from EB Magalona to Bacolod City, which added to speculation he planned to run for mayor./DGB, WDJ