PDP-Laban members in Victorias City resign from political party



Vice Mayor Abelardo Bantug III and nine councilors of Victorias City on Wednesday (April 24) resigned as members of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), a move seen to derail the consolidation efforts of the national  political party in Negros Occidental.

Their resignation came after lawyer Jesus Villanueva Hinlo, PDP-Laban deputy secretary general for Visayas, announced plans to field former Victorias City Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca for governor, if needed, in the May 2025 mid-term elections, against incumbent Eugenio Jose Lacson.

In a letter addressed to PDP-Laban president, Palawan 2nd District Rep. Jose Alvarez, they said, “We note that such decision was made without consultation with the undersigned PDP-Laban members and incumbent officials of Victorias City, Negros Occidental.”

Joining Bantug in the resignation were Councilor Derek Palanca, son of the former mayor himself, as well as Councilors Deilen Hofileña, Dino Jose Maria Acuña, Danilo de Asis Jr, Audie Malaga, Teresita Bartolome, Hermie Millan, Dexter Senido and Joji Larraga.

“It appears that the leadership of PDP-Laban in Negros Occidental under Atty. Hinlo has overlooked the basic principle that an organization should promote inclusivity through consultation before decision, not the other way around,” they said.

“Finally, this decision of the PDP-Laban no longer aligns, and is therefore inconsistent, with the principles upon which we wish to govern and serve as public servants to our constituents,” they added.

Hinlo clarified on Wednesday that Palanca has not yet decided whether he will run for governor of Negros Occidental.

“We are still in our consultation stage. Mayor Palanca has not even accepted,” he said, adding that “the decision to run for public office is a personal decision of all potential candidates”.

Victorias City Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez earlier said in a statement that “the governance style and decisions during the administration of former Mayor Palanca do not reflect the current and future direction of Victorias City under his leadership”.

Lacson, who earlier confirmed his intention to seek a third and last term as governor, said he cannot choose his opponents.

The governor heads Love Negros, a local political organization, of which Palanca is also a member.

Lacson got the full support of the Love Negros-United Negros Alliance in his bid for another term. | GB