Ang pumuluyo ang akon boss, Albee says, vows there’s “nothing personal, just work”
By Julius D Mariveles with Nikki Magbanua and Rodney Jarder Jr from the Bacolod City Government Center
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Party lines were blurred, at least for a night, as winning candidates from two major political groups here joined the inaugural led by Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez, ending a hotly-contested political season that started late last year.
Now opposition leader, Vice-Mayor El Cid Familiaran led winning members of Grupo Progreso (Group for Progress) – Israel Salanga, Cindy Rojas, Em Ang, and Renecito Novero in the elaborate oathtaking ceremony held on the grounds of the Bacolod City Government Center that lasted for more than four hours.
Amid skies threatening with rain due to a tropical cyclone in-country, Catholic priest Farley Santillan officiated a Holy Mass attended by the city officials and guests who included Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Vice-Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, a first time for Capitol officials to do so after this city became highly-urbanized.
Familiaran, Cong. Greg Gasataya, Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano, Team Asenso (Team Development) councilors Jude Thaddeus Sayson, Al Victor Espino, Jesus Claudio Puentevella, Jason Villarosa, Vladimir Gonzalez, Celia Flor, Simplicia Distrito, and Pao Sy, and those from GP took turns being led up on stage by their families, after their respective short curriculum vitae were read by the emcees.
The councilors were sworn in by Tangub village chief Noli Villarosa, a Benitez ally and fierce critic of former Mayor Evelio Leonardia, Benitez, Familiaran and Paduano by Granada village chief Alfredo Talimodao while Village 31 chief German Bullolaza gave the oath to Gasataya.
Benitez, who won with more than 64,000 votes against Leonardia, got more than 65 percent of the total votes cast in the last polls in this urban center that has more than 300,000 voters.
Benitez said in his inaugural speech that the people here are his “bosses” and vowed there is nothing personal with what he is going to do, “just work.”