This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.
Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez found himself entangled in an annulment speculation which is currently causing a stir in the city and in Negros Occidental.
Benitez had previously been the subject of talk regarding his alleged romantic involvement with showbiz celebrities, cited as the root cause of the ongoing controversy in Bacolod.
The controversy could hurt Benitez politically given that he leads a conservative and Catholic-majority city that values religion-based family values.
Mayor Benitez was earlier quoted in an entertainment portal as saying, “We have not been a couple for several years. In fact, we have gotten dissolution in court several years back.”
But responding to the speculations, his wife Dominique “Nikki” Lopez-Benitez said, “We’ve been living under one roof for 31 years.”
The report quickly spread across Bacolod City and Negros Occidental, prompting Nikki to express shock about her husband being romantically linked to actresses.
“The quotes attributed to him (Mayor Benitez) in the media, suggesting romantic links with several actresses, came as a surprise. We have been living under one roof for 31 years, maintaining our family’s unity through all of life’s challenges,” read part of her statement on Sunday, February 4.
Nikki added, “My commitment to handling personal matters with dignity and respect remains unchanged. I am especially focused on shielding our children from pain or anguish brought about by this matter. In light of the recent articles and distressing contents, I wish to clarify that there have been no discussions between my husband and I regarding separation or annulment.”
Their eldest son, Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel “Javi” Benitez, however, added fuel to the fire with his cryptic post on his Facebook page about the controversy.
Javi, who sits as president of the Association of Chief Executives (ACE) in Negros Occidental, wrote, “We’re as shocked as everyone because this wasn’t spoken about in private, but mom I want you to know that I thank you and love you for all that you have done for our family. We know how much you have sacrificed for me and Bettina. I am eternally grateful.”
Javi’s post was seen by many as a show of sympathy for his mother.
Nikki has played an important role in supporting her husband’s efforts in providing aid to needy residents through her non-profit foundation, Nikki Cares. She has been leading medical and dental outreaches, and the distribution of relief goods in Bacolod during calamities, even when her husband was abroad.
The Bacolod mayor, the titular head of the local political group Love Negros, which has 15 mayors as members, has kept mum about the speculations as of posting time.
A billionaire who was once among the richest congressmen in the country, Mayor Benitez rose to the city’s top post in 2022 with the promise of bringing about change through moral governance. – Rappler.com