Leonardia says Espino voluntarily left GP

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  • NND News Team

No one has asked Bacolod City Councilor Al Victor Espino to leave Grupo Progreso, nor was there an effort to ease him out, Mayor Evelio Leonardia said in a statement this afternoon, Sept. 5.

Espino’s parting of ways with his party mates was his own voluntary act, the statement of Leonardia and Grupo Progreso added.

NEGROS NOW DAILY posted on its website Sept. 4 its interview with Espino, who claimed that he decided to leave Grupo Progreso after Leonardia told him during the political group’s meeting Sept. 3 that he had lost his trust in him.

Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, left, said no one in Grupo Progreso moved to ease out Councilor Al Victor Espino, right, from the party.

Espino said he did not expect that he will be told by their leader that he had lost his trust in him to be part of the team in the May 9, 2022 elections.

He said Leonardia told him, in front of the other councilors and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, of his loss of trust in the former to be part of the team because of his attachment and closeness to a possible opponent.

He answered the mayor that it would be best that he will leave the group, Espino said.

NEGROS NOW DAILY tried to reach out to Leonardia that night for his comments, but to no avail.

This afternoon, the statement from the mayor and GP said, “To set the record straight, no one in the GP moved to ease him out…The manner of his physical exit, in fact, was also cordial. There was even that friendly fist bump.”

The statement confirmed the party’s meeting, attended by Leonardia, Familiaran, Espino, and incumbent councilors Cindy Rojas, Renecito Novero, Simple Distrito, Carlos Jose Lopez, Archie Baribar, Israel Salanga, Dindo Ramos, and Bartolome Orola Sr.

Also in attendance were former councilor and now City Administrator Em Legaspi-Ang and party member Marlon Solidum.

“Our meeting centered on moving towards the finalization of the party slate and the filing of the COCs (Certificates of Candidacy) in October. Everyone was asked to speak, and those present reaffirmed their decision and commitment to run under the banner of the GP. They reiterated their continued support to the party platform, policies and programs,” the statement added.

“The discussions were open and the atmosphere was cordial. And Councilor Espino happened to be the last one to speak. After he had given his piece, yours truly responded, which started a long exchange of views and opinions,” Leonardia said.

“As there was an apparent disagreement on certain sensitive matters, that was when Councilor Espino volunteered to leave while the meeting was on-going,” the mayor added in the statement.

Leonardia thanked Espino for his involvement all these years that he had been with Grupo Progreso. The political circumstances, however, as it could happen elsewhere, may change accordingly though, he added. — NND