BACOLOD CITY — There’s no stopping fomer Negros Occidental third district rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez from running as mayor here in the 2022 polls.
This, after the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), in a decision dated Oct. 1, has dismissed the petition for exclusion from the list of registered voters of Bacolod City filed by three residents against him.
The court emphasized that they have complied with the minimum requirements mandated by the law in so far as requirement on residency is concerned.
The same petition was also filed earlier against Benitez before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here, but was dismissed by the Election Registration Board (ERB).
Following this development, Benitez’s lawyer on their behalf filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) at the Comelec on Tuesday, Oct. 5, in light of the COVID-19 threat.
Clad in white, Benitez then revealed the members of his slate dubbed “Unity Ticket,” at his residence in Barangay Mandalagan here that day.
Benitez also announced his runningmate, former Councilor Caesar Distrito, who was a former member of Grupo Progreso (GP) headed by incumbent Mayor Evelio Leonardia.
Distrito then presented their councilor bets which included: incumbent Councilors Simple Distrito, Al Victor Espino, and Bart Orola, who were former members of GP seeking for re-election; former Councilors Homer Bais, Celia Flor, Sonya Verdeflor and Claudio Puentevella; former Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson; businessman Vladimir Gonzales; former Negros Occidental third district Board Member Patrick Lacson; Pao Sy; and Barangay Sum-ag Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairman Jason Villarosa.
Benitez said he wanted a unification composed of the old, the new, the pro, and the anti. Thus, he said he will not leave anybody behind because this is a representation of all of the people here where they will bring to progress and change.
“I tried to come up with a diversity of candidates that will represent our future,” he said.
Benitez, in his speech, said that he has never foresaw that this day will come. “It was never on the horizon. It has never been in my mind that it will come to this,” he added.
Benitez said it was a sacrifice on his part, but this is what the people want and he could see that he is capable of helping them.
Benitez said the call of the people, as indicated in several tarpaulins posted all over the city, persuaded him to run for the executive position.
“I cannot turn my back because I know I can make a difference,” he added.
Meanwhile, incumbent Bacolod Cong. Greg Gasataya had also filed his COC at the Comelec on Monday, Oct. 4.
Gasataya has earlier said that he will stay neutral in seeking for a re-election. He is a member of GP, who is also in good terms with Benitez.
Benitez, who has no congressional bet in his line up, said that he believes Gasataya has gave Bacolod an overwhelming support through his programs and projects.