Top LP man tries to quit, stopped by Mar’s mom
BACOLOD CITY—All’s not well in the ruling Liberal Party (LP) in the province of Negros Occidental.
Rep. Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez (Negros Occidental, third district) on Friday admitted a “communication gap” between him and LP standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Araneta Roxas II.
Benitez also admitted he had offered to resign as chair of the LP in Negros Occidental but his resignation was not accepted by top party leaders.
Benitez, however, denied that he snubbed a meeting with Roxas and his supporters at Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City, Negros Occidental, on Sept. 4, saying he was not invited to the meeting in the first place.
President Aquino, according to Benitez, has sent feelers about wanting to talk with the congressman. Benitez said he believed the meeting between him and Mr. Aquino would push through, though the congressman could not say when.
Asked if the President could talk him into staying with the LP, Benitez said “actually I’m open. One thing probably that we have to iron out is really, first, is there enough trust for us to work together again?”
He said there is also a need to define exactly what political parties are for.
“Is it to advance the ideology or the individual?” he said.
As of yesterday, Benitez could not say who he would support in the presidential elections next year.
He denied that the communication gap between him and Roxas was triggered by Roxas’ dealings with Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr., who heads the United Negros Alliance, or because of his alleged desire to become Speaker of the House.
Those are shallow reasons and are not true, said Benitez, who belongs to the Love Negros team, another political group in the province.
Besides, the speakership is something that can be discussed after the 2016 elections, he said.
In a meeting with Judy Araneta-Roxas, mother of Mar, before the Sept. 4 meeting in Talisay City, Benitez said that he had offered to resign from LP because of what seemed to be a breakdown of trust between him and the party.
“But she said no. She rejected my resignation,” said Benitez.
“Tita Judy called it miscommunication,” he said.
Benitez said that after that meeting with Mrs. Roxas, he went out of town and was never informed about the visit of Roxas to Talisay City, and since then has not been reached or contacted by the party.
He said he did not attend the LP affair at Club Filipino when the President anointed Roxas as the party’s standard-bearer because of what he felt was a “gap” between him and the ruling party.
Benitez is the fourth richest member of the House of Representatives and is seen to have considerable political clout in Negros and in Congress.
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