Negros Occidental solon backs Poe, Escudero
BACOLOD CITY – Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez of Negros Occidental’s 3rd district has announced his backing for the presidential bid of Sen. Grace Poe and her running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
“We need new blood to lead this country,” said Benitez, fourth richest member of Congress and former Liberal Party chair in the province, on why he chose to support the tandem.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Maranon earlier said the bulk of Negros Occidental officials – 23 mayors and four congressmen –were supporting the candidacy of LP standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and running mate, Leni Robredo.
But Benitez also holds considerable political clout in Negros Occidental being a leader of the local political group called Love Negros.
His support for Poe could indicate that Roxas’ lead in Negros Occidental may not be as large as originally expected.
Roxas’ mother Judy Araneta is from Negros Occidental but Poe’s adoptive mother, actress Susan Roces, was born in and studied in Bacolod City.
READ: Susan Roces returns to hometown for Poe campaign in Bacolod
Poe also pointed out that Tessie Ledesma Valencia, the woman who adopted her before the Poes took her as their own is also from Negros Occidental.
Poe and Roces visited the grave of Valencia at the Golez Mosouleum in Silay City upon their arrival in Negros Occidental on Friday morning.
The mother and daughter laid flowers and prayed at the grave during a private visit.
Valencia, an unmarried and childless friend of Roces, died on Sept. 20, 2009.
Christina Balbidadez, another adopted daughter of Valencia who calls Grace “manang” is also in Negros Occidental campaigning for her.
Herminia Sajo Alojado, a former “yaya” of the Sonora family, who helped care for Poe when she was a child, also met with her here. CDG