BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Longtime Leonardia ally and Grupo Progreso member Al Victor Espino has confirmed that he had been “eased out” of the ruling party amid speculations that he is close to Leonardia’s prospective rival, businessman Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez.
“I am partyless,” the multi-term councilor told DNX as he described himself as “heartbroken” after Mayor Evelio Leonardia told him that he (the mayor) no longer trusts him.
The seasoned councilor said, however, that it does not mean he would be immediately switching sides to Benitez.
Espino said Leonardia, the head of the ruling local coalition, told him during a meeting with Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, all GP councilors, and several other GP stalwarts about his sentiment.
He added Leonardia made it clear that since Benitez is running as mayor, Espino no longer has his trust.
“I felt heartbroken, I have always been loyal to him and the party,” Espino also said.
He recalled that he had been an ally of Leonardia since 1998 and had been in the forefront of defending even the controversial policies and programs of Leonardia like the building of the New Government Center.
Leonardia, Familiaran, and other GP officials have yet to return the calls of DNX as this story goes to print.