May the best man win.
This was the message of Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson to Love Negros and United Negros Alliance mayoralty candidates in several towns and cities of Negros Occidental, who are expected to clash in the May 2022 elections.
Lacson, who attended the meeting of 1st district officials, under the Team Unity banner, on Sept. 10 in San Carlos City, admitted that he and Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer tried to reach a consensus among the candidates in those areas.
“Unfortunately, we were not successful,” he stressed.
Board Member Ernesto Agustin Bascon earlier confirmed that he will run for mayor of Himamaylan City against incumbent Raymund Tongson, who is affiliated with UNegA.
Bascon is a member of Love Negros.
UNegA Mayor Richard Jaojoco also announced earlier that his wife, Madonna, will run for mayor of Toboso.
Love Negros, meanwhile, is fielding either former mayor Evelio Valencia or incumbent Vice Mayor Jesse Rex Bartolome.
Love Negros Mayor Irene Montilla will also be challenged by incumbent Vice Mayor Renato Malabor Jr., who is affiliated with UNegA, for the Isabela mayoralty post.
“Whoever wins, we will respect it. We are looking forward to working with the winning mayors,” Lacson stressed.
During the meeting of the 1st district Team Unity members on Sept. 10 at a restaurant in San Carlos City, the Lacson-Ferrer tandem also got the support of mayors in the district, as well as that of Rep. Gerardo Valmayor, former Rep. Julio Ledesma IV, and Board Members Rommel Debulgado and Araceli Somosa.
Among those who participated in the meeting were San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo, Don Salvador Benedicto Mayor Marxlen dela Cruz, Escalante City Mayor Melecio Yap, and Calatrava Mayor Marilyn Era, with their respective vice mayors and councilors.
Gustilo disclosed that Lacson also endorsed his re-election bid, and that of other mayors in the 1st district. He, however, said that Love Negros will field a mayoralty candidate in Toboso, after a consensus among the candidates was not reached.
More than a dozen mayors in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th districts earlier endorsed also the Lacson-Ferrer tandem. – GB