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Nation

Ex-Negros LP chief mum on bet for 2016 presidential race

Danny B. Dangcalan - The Philippine Star

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The former provincial chairman of the Liberal Party (LP) in Negros Occidental on Friday refused to reveal the presidential candidate he would support in the 2016 elections.

Third District Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, who is the fourth richest congressman this year and leader of the 42-member Visayan bloc in the House of Representatives, did not answer questions on whether he would endorse administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II.

Benitez said he met with Roxas two weeks ago to settle their differences.

“I explained my side, we talked, and it turned out very well,” he told journalists.

The report about Benitez having a falling out with the administration party stemmed from his absence in events meant to boost Roxas’ presidential bid.

This was followed by his removal as LP provincial chairman before the filing of the certificates of candidacy in October.

He was replaced by former governor Rafael Coscolluela, a consultant of Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr.

Roxas earlier directed Coscolluela to organize a parallel campaign in the province.

Benitez is reportedly supporting the bid of Sen. Grace Poe, but he refused to comment on this.

“I filed as an independent, so I will meet with the old LP members in the province who helped me before. I’ll be meeting them this or next week. I never resigned. I just did not file as a Liberal Party candidate,” Benitez said when asked if he would be staying with the LP.

He refused to answer categorically when asked if the Visayan bloc would support Roxas.

On the possibility that the National Unity Party will field a substitute candidate against him in the third district, the lawmaker, who is seeking a third and final term, said he is ready to face any opponent in the elections.

 

ALFREDO ABELARDO BENITEZ

ALFREDO MARANON JR.

BENITEZ

GRACE POE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

LIBERAL PARTY

MANUEL ROXAS

NATIONAL UNITY PARTY

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL

RAFAEL COSCOLLUELA

ROXAS

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