2022 Philippine Elections

Negros Occidental local execs stage show of force for Marcos, Duterte

Inday Espina-Varona
Negros Occidental local execs stage show of force for Marcos, Duterte
Organizers of the campaign rally say no local executive will be on stage with the UniTeam candidates, despite their overwhelming show of force in the morning meeting

BACOLOD CITY, PhilippinesNegros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer led an overwhelming show of support together with the province’s local government officials and congressional representatives on Wednesday, February 23, during a morning meeting with presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr and his running mate, Davao mayor Sara Duterte.

The meeting in Stonehill Suites came a few hours before a grand rally of the Marcos-Duterte UniTeam at the BREDCO reclamation area in this city.

Ferrer said the campaign expects 80,000 supporters to attend the rally. 

He had earlier told Rappler they had finalized the backing of most mayors, saying “it’s the representatives’ influence.” But his previous pronouncements met with waffling from local executives who remained non-committal.

On the “grand rally” day, Ferrer made good his word. Despite the show of force, no local executive will be on stage with the UniTeam candidates, Ferrer said.

Early birds at Bacolod City’s Bredco area, where the Marcos-Duterte UniTeam will hold a ‘grand rally’ at 5:30 pm, February 23. Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer says the target mob is 80,000. In a morning meeting, 85% of the province’s mayors publicly backed the UniTeam bets.

“We’re solid for you,” Rep. Jinggo Valmayor of the 1st district of Negros Occidental told Marcos and Duterte, and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who got as much attention as the candidates.

The district’s mayors – San Carlos mayor Rene Gustillo, Escalante mayor Biboy Yap, Don Salvador Benedicto mayor MacMac de la Cruz, Toboso mayor Richard Jaojoco – all stood up. Valmayor said Calatrava mayor Marilyn A. Era was on her way.

The second and third districts stood out because they had the fewest Marcos-Duterte supporters.

Ferrer introduced Manapla Mayor Manolet Escalante and Sagay City Vice Mayor Narciso L. Javelosa, Jr. Escalante was among those who had waffled when Ferrer first announced support for the UniTeam standard-bearers.

Ferrer also introduced supporters from the 3rd district although Rep Kiko Benitez was present since the start of the meeting. 

Silay City Mark Golez and EB Magalona Marvin Maron were present. Former 3rd district representative and now Bacolod mayoralty bet, Albee Benitez and Talisay Mayor Neil Lizares arrived later

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Rep Juliet Ferrer, the vice governor’s wife and grand daughter of Marcos crony Roberto Benedicto, said all six mayors in the 4th district are backing the UniTeam.  She introduced Pulupandan mayor Miguel Pena, San Enrique mayor Jilson Tubillara, Pontevedra mayor Jose Maria A. Alonso, Valladolid mayor Enrique R. Miravalles, and Bago City mayor Nicholas M. Yulo. She said La Carlota mayor Rex Jalandoon was on his way.

Fifth district Rep Marilou Arroyo, the sister of President Arroyo’s spouse, Mike, introduced  Himamaylan mayor Raymund Tongson, Moises Padilla mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo,  La Castellana mayor Mai Nicor-Mangilimutan, and Hinigaran mayor Jose Nadie Arceo. She also said Isabela mayor Irene Montilla and Binalbagan Alejandro “Bebot” Mirasol were on their way.

KINGMAKER? Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer (left) and Himamaylan Mayor Raymund Tongson greet former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was instrumental in cobbling together the UniTeam tandem and received as much attention in Bacolod City as the candidates. (C Canet)

Rep. Genaro Alvarez of the 6th district was represented by his daughter, former representative and comebacking candidate Chedeng Alvarez.  Present were Ilog mayor John Paul K. Alvarez, Kabankalan mayor Pedro Zayco, Cauayan mayor John Rey D. Tabujara, and Hinobaan mayor Ernesto A. Estrao.

Alvarez, addressing the former president, said Sipalay mayor Gina Lizares and Candoni Mayor Cicero D. Borromeo were on their way.

The vice governor earlier told Rappler that Lizares is for Robredo. Alvarez hinted that Macapagal-Arroyo could have influenced a change of heart, saying Sipalay “is very memorable to you.”

The former president, a diving enthusiast, had singled out Sipalay for tourism development during her term and linked that “progress” to her anti-insurgency campaign that arrested and killed many legal activists, especially farmers.

The vice governor also acknowledged the presence of most of the provincial board members. – Rappler.com

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