Zubiri staying out of ‘battle royale’


Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday said he would rather have his own motorcade during the campaign period, instead of joining local political rallies that will be organized by the protagonists in Bacolod City’s “battle royale”.

The senator is referring to the looming contest for the mayoralty seat between incumbent city mayor Evelio Leonardia and former Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez.

While he refused to comment on Benitez’s pronouncements to the media, Zubiri said he holds in high regards both Leonardia and Benitez and he would rather ask for their common support for his re-election bid than endorsing one of them.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, center, said both incumbent Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, right, and former Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez are his friends.

Zubiri, who claimed to be a full-blooded Ilonggo, considers Leonardia and Benitez as his close friends. He said he will just focus his attention on his own campaign.

The senator said a similar scenario in unfolding in his hometown in Bukidnon, where two of his closest friends are eyeing the same local position.

In the 2019 senatorial election, Zubiri earned the second highest number of votes in Negros Occidental, following Senator Franklin Drilon.

Meanwhile, the senator said he will announce his support for a presidential candidate only after the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy on October 8.

He admitted receiving an invitation from political groups, including the Hugpong Pagbabago of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, to join them.

With the 2022 elections still months away, Zubiri said his priority is to finish the projects he had started in different towns of Negros Occidental. – MML