Roxas hits ex-LP provincial chairman, insists victory in Negros Occidental

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II assailed the former provincial chairman of his party in Negros Occidental for saying that the province will go for his opponent, Grace Poe. 

Roxas said that Negros Occidental Third District Alfredo Abelardo Benitez will be "sadly mistaken" and will be "sadly disappointed" because the province will support him and he will "absolutely" win against Poe.

Negros Occidental is the fifth most vote-rich province in the country with 1.6 million registered voters. 

The province is a known "Mar Country" as Roxas’ mother, Judy Araneta-Roxas, is from Bago City. Poe, however, also traces her roots here as her adoptive mother, actress Susan Roces, is from Bacolod City. 

"Nalulungkot ako na ‘yun ang pagpasya ni Congressman Albee, pero mabuti na rin lang na nakita na natin ang kanyang tunay na kulay. Pansarili lang pala. Itong ating pagsuot ng dilaw, itong ating pagsama sa Daang Matuwid, ito ay dahil naniniwala tayo dito. May kawsa tayo na ipinaglalaban: ‘Yung matuwid at malinis na pamamahala. Programa de gobyerno ito. Hindi ito pang-personal, hindi ito pangsarili," Roxas said.

(I'm sad that this is Congressman Albee's decision, but it's good to know his true colors. He's thinking of himself. Our wearing yellow, our joining together for the Straight Path, it is because we believe in it. We have a cause worth fighting for: The straight and clean path of governance. It's a government program. It is neither personal nor for the self.)

He went on to say that Benitez's only concern is his personal interest, as he claimed that the Negrense lawmaker was promised with a House speakership should Poe win the elections.

"Pansariling interes,‘yung kanyang pagiging speaker kuno, kasi ipinangako sa kanya na magiging speaker siya sakaling manalo si Grace Poe (Self-interest. It's about his becoming speaker, because it was promised to him should Grace Poe win), he said.

On the contrary, he said, the elections is about the country, and not just one person.

"This is not about Leni Robredo. This is not about any one person or any person’s political ambition. This is about the future of our country. This is about the Negrenses. This is about the Ilonggos. This is about all Filipinos, na nagnanais lamang na mamuhay ng may dangal, puno ng pagkakataon (who only wish to have decent lives with many opportunies)," the LP standard bearer added. 

Roxas noted that the Aquino administration realized the creation of the Negros Island Region which, he said is proof that "we can change the mechanisms of governance to better focus on the needs of Negros."

He said that from being tied to a single crop – sugar cane for sugar production – Negros now has more than 10,000 hectares planted to rice. "Irrigated na. Very soon, Negros will already be exporting rice," Roxas added.

"Dito rin sa Negros is the site of several solar powered generating stations. Ibig sabihin, ito ‘yung kaunlaran na nahatid ng Daang Matuwid sa Negros Island. Kaya ito ang nais nating magpatuloy. Kung ano man ang pagpasya, kung ano man ang ginawa ni Congressman Albee, well, good luck to him. Nakita ng mga kababayan niya ang tunay niya na kulay," he added.

(Negros is the site of several solar powered generating stations. This shows the progress brought by Daang Matuwid to Negros Island. So we want to continue this. Whatever Congressman Albee that decided on, well good luck to him. Our people have seen his true colors.)

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., a staunch supporter of the Aquino administration, vowed that Negros Island could deliver 1.5 million votes for Roxas, with one million coming from Negros Occidental.

Marañon cited the overwhelming win of Roxas in the province against Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2010 vice presidential race. Roxas garnered 707,313 votes in Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, while Binay only got 221,679 votes.

Benitez, however, doesn’t think Roxas could muster even 1 million votes in the province.

Benitez, who shifted his allegiance to Poe when he was stripped of his functions as LP provincial chairman last year, said Negros Occidental will go for Poe. He cited the overwhelming support of Negrenses for Poe during her sorties here, and downplayed the administration machinery which only protects the votes and not generate them.

Meanwhile, Roxas said that Negros Occidental supports him.

"Negros is for the Negrosanons. Negrosanons support Roxas. I think you yourself saw the reception. Hindi para sa akin ang magtaas ng sarili kong banko. Kayo na lang siguro ang magsabi kung sino ang tatangkilikin ng mga kababayan natin dito,"Roxas said.

(It's not for me to toot my own horn. It's up to you to say who the people here will vote for.) – Rappler.com