BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The ruling party Grupo Progreso has been forcing village heads to toe the party line and support the party’s adopted candidate Dan Atayde.
Former GP ally Councilor Al Victor Espino said as much to DNX as he revealed how the ruling party led by incumbent Mayor Evelio Leonardia has been ensuring that village heads throw their support behind Atayde.
Atayde, Espino said, has committed to provide financial support to the party, thus those affiliated with them should abide by the official party line.
This also includes the 36 village heads who had previously publicly announced their support for incumbent Bacolod Cong. Greg Gasataya.
It can be recalled that Gasataya, former GP ally, had earlier announced his political neutrality saying he respected both the contenders for the top post of the city, Leonardia, and former third district congressman, Alfredo Abelardo Benitez.
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However, Leonardia, in a press conference, later declared that Gasataya’s show of neutrality is a sham, thus severing all ties with the solon.
Espino revealed that the local ruling party has to ensure that the village heads support Atayde, including those who had earlier thrown their support behind incumbent Cong. Greg Gasataya.
This is because the party is banking on Atayde for financial support thus the village heads had to back its candidate for congressman.
Espino also said money is apparently the main consideration why the ruling local party adopted Atayde as its bet for the congressional seat.
Espino pointed out that GP took Atayde under its wing after it had a falling out with Gasataya, who was a major financial force in GP and thus the ruling party lost a valuable asset when it decided to disengage from the congressman.
He also pointed out that Atayde himself is not from Bacolod and his business also involves gambling, the very same issues the ruling party has hurled against Benitez.
This, plus disengaging against Gasataya who embodies the spirit of continuity — the GP’s battle cry — Leonardia has found a “kryptonite” in Atayde.
Espino references the Superman myth, as the superhero is particularly vulnerable to kryptonite.