BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez takes over the top post at City Hall noontime on 30 June 2022 as the 23rd chief executive since Alfredo Montelibano Sr. became the first city mayor in 1939 when then President Quezon converted this town under the Commonwealth government.
Benitez is the first billionaire to become mayor here, his wealth rooted in the sugar industry, similar to Montelibano Sr. whose clan eventually formed a third of the sugar bloc in Negros and Panay islands.
He is the fifth Alfredo become mayor and the third to occupy the seat in significant periods of the city’s history.
The first Alfredo was the senior Montelibano who became the first mayor of a newly converted Bacolod under President Manuel Quezon’s government in 1938. His term lasted only a year.
The second Alfredo, a namesake of the senior Montelibano, became the first post-EDSA chief executive elected to the position in 1988, two years after the military-backed EDSA civilian uprising ousted the Marcos presidency.
There were two other Alfredos – a Jalbuena in 1995 and Yulo from 1939 to 1941.
Benitez also becomes the first mayor to be elected in the historic 2022 Philippine polls, the first held under conditions of a CoViD19 pandemic.
He will come in end of this month as the 42nd mayor since Bacolod was established as a town in 1755 and the 22nd chief executive since it became a city.
Since 1986 or the start of the Fifth Republic, Benitez becomes tenth mayor of the now highly-urbanized city coming after Montelibano Jr, Jalbuena (acting), Evelio Leonardia, Oscar Verdeflor, Luzviminda Valdez, Monico Puentevella and Greg Gasataya (acting).
Jalbuena (March to June 1995) and Gasataya November 2015 to February 2016) had the shortest terms at only three months each while Leonardia, who was defeated by Benitez, stayed the longest in office.
Leonardia first held office in 1995 until 1998 then a full nine years of three terms from 2004 to 2013, and six years from 2016 until now.