BACOLOD CITY — Mayor-elect Alfredo ‘Albee’ Benitez took his oath of office on Thursday and will officially begin his term in July as the chief executive here.
Benitez, former Negros Occidental congressman, took his oath before Barangay Singcang-Airport Captain Rosinie Distrito, brother of his running mate vice-mayoralty candidate Atty. Caesar Distrito, a former councilor here.
Barangay Singcang delivered the biggest margin of votes for Benitez and Congressman Greg Gasataya who won his reelection bid, with 5,662 votes and 7,247 votes respectively.
Also sworn in were Gasataya and other winning councilors of Team Asenso.
Benitez, who garnered 171,893 votes, defeated Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who only got 107,447 votes, with a difference of 64,446 votes.
Leonardia announced through his legal counsel that he filed an election protest before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) central office in Manila, citing the alleged “massive vote buying” in the recent elections here.
Leonardia has also asked the Comelec to conduct a manual recount of all 450 clustered precincts here and declare failure of elections and conduct special polls here due to fake voters being allowed to cast votes that resulted in what he described as ‘mysterious and unbelievable’ outcome last May 9, 2022.
Benitez said in a statement that the ‘baseless and frivolous’ complaint filed by the incumbent mayor is another desperate move of one who refuses to accept the truth.
Meanwhile, Benitez, during his acceptance speech, thanked the people of Barangay Singcang-Airport and the supporters of Team Asenso for giving them the chance to serve the city.
“Ang amon nga promisa nga pagbag-o sa Bacolod magasugod subong,” (Our promise of bringing change to Bacolod starts now),” Benitez said.
He also said he will go the extra mile in governance and service for the city.