Negros Occidental’s local execs attend dinner hosted by Roxas’ mom
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — Elected local officials in Negros Occidental on Saturday crossed party lines to declare their support for Interior Secretary Mar Roxas’ run for President in next year’s elections.
Many of the 260 officials, who attended a dinner hosted by Roxas’ mother, Judy Araneta-Roxas, believed the time has come for a Negrense to get elected to Malacañang.
“Negrenses must grab the opportunity because this is a [once in a lifetime chance] to have an Ilonggo President, ” said Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo G. Marañon, president of United Negros Alliance, which is not affiliated with any national party.
Marañon, Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella and Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia were among those who attended the dinner hosted by Araneta-Roxas at the Araneta ancestral home in Bacolod City.
Also at the dinner were three congressmen, 16 mayors, board members, vice mayors, councilors and barangay captains—all from different political parties.
Araneta-Roxas’ family is from Negros Occidental.
Her parents used to own the sugar centrals in Bago and Bacolod cities but they closed them down and invested their money outside the province.
On Friday night, Araneta-Roxas was the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Enrique Rojas, National Federation of Sugarcane Planters president, and his wife, Lourdes, at their home here.
Most of the 50 people who came to the dinner were among the wealthiest in Negros Occidental—businessmen, prawn growers and sugar planters whom Araneta-Roxas asked “not to forget” her son in 2016.
Araneta-Roxas aired the same appeal during her meeting with nongovernmental organization leaders on Saturday afternoon.
In the evening, she met with local officials during a dinner she hosted in her ancestral home.
“I am happy all of us are here so we can talk and get to know each other,” she said.
“Like the governor, perhaps all of us would like to see one of us in Malacañang and I am thankful you all came,” she said.
“Mar has the same vision for Negros as you do and in a higher post, he will be able to help Negros more,” she added.
In an interview, Araneta-Roxas said her family would give its all-out support to the interior secretary in a run for any office.
But Marañon said the dinner was meant to let the local officials know that Roxas was running for President next year.
The announcement was received well by all, he added.
Marañon, a longtime supporter of Roxas, stressed the local officials would be proud of their candidate because Roxas has not been tainted by allegations of graft and corruption in the years he has been in government service.
The governor said he was not worried about the low ratings of Roxas in the polls because he expected the support to build up upon the interior secretary’s announcement of his candidacy for President.
Asked who should be Roxas’ running mate, Marañon said it would be up to Roxas to choose a “capable and experienced” running mate.
“The Vice President as a spare tire to the President must have his trust and confidence,” Marañon said.
“That person must have the capability to run the country should anything happen to the President,” he added.
Marañon appealed to those present at the dinner to convince their friends and relatives to vote for Roxas.
Some officials at the gathering openly aired their support for Roxas but some asked not to be interviewed on the matter, saying it was too early to talk about the presidential election.
Negros Occidental Rep. Rafael Leo Cueva of the National Unity Party admitted that in Negros Occidental, people felt the leadership and service of Roxas.
“There is no doubt that Mar will be a good President,” he said.
Negros Occidental Rep. Alejandro Mirasol (5th District), a member of the Liberal Party, said he would support the person the LP would choose to field in the presidential election.
Kabankalan Mayor Isidro Zayco, head of the Nationalist People’s Coalition in Negros Occidental, said he would support Roxas because the time has come for an Ilonggo to become president.
Zayco said he did not think it would be a problem for the NPC if he supported Roxas, noting that the LP appeared to be in talks with the NPC and Nacionalista Party for a 2016 coalition. SFM/ABC
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