Danding Cojuangco’s Negros party crumbling as pols fightBy Carla P. Gomez
BACOLOD CITY—The clash of political ambitions in Negros Occidental is turning allies into enemies and is threatening to tear apart a formidable group that had been formed by businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, President Aquino’s uncle, to dominate politics in the province.
Leaders of the United Negros Alliance (UNA) are turning against each other and the main source of contention is the gubernatorial seat.
Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez Jr. said on Monday he was the candidate for governor of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), a national political party also founded by Cojuangco.
Gov. Alfredo Marañon, chair of the UNA and NPC member, said he was running for reelection. The UNA was founded by Cojuangco about 10 years ago and has been the dominant political force in Negros Occidental.
Alvarez is claiming the support of Rep. Julio Ledesma, Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (his daughter) and Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez. Benitez refused to discuss the matter on record.
Alvarez said that he and his son, Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez, who has been charged with the murder of Judge Henry Arles, met recently in Manila with 12 mayors of the province to discuss the elder Alvarez’s gubernatorial bid.
Mayor Isidro Zayco has been named new chair of the NPC in Negros, a post that had been held by Governor Marañon.
Zayco, however, refused to comment on his appointment as chair of the party in the province.
Marañon, on the other hand, is claiming to have the support of Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer, Rep. Alejandro Mirasol and his son, Rep. Alfredo Marañon.
Ferrer and Mirasol refused to comment, however.
Ferrer, an NPC member, said the party has yet to decide who to support as candidate for governor.
Governor Marañon said he has the support of more than 19 mayors of the province. Sources close to Alvarez said the vice governor is being supported by 17 mayors.