Local News: For 5th District Special Poll: UNA Endorses Mirasol
The United Negros Alliance (UNA) has endorsed the candidacy of Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol for the congressional post in the 5th District of Negros Occidental in a special election on June 2.
The endorsement was officially announced by UNA during its caucus in Bacolod last Saturday that was presided by its chairman, Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., according to 4th District Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer.
Prior to the caucus, Mirasol had been endorsed by the Liberal Party. His candidacy was reportedly being backed by Malacañang as he was the first mayor in Negros Occidental to have declared publicly his support for President Aquino in the 2010 elections.
UNA is the biggest coalition of major political parties in this province, and is composed of majority of incumbent officials. Marañon is a known supporter of Aquino.
Mirasol’s UNA endorsement was sealed when his contender, Board Member Melvin Ibañez, withdrew from the race, three days before the caucus.
Ibañez said that he is giving way to Mirasol because since he was endorsed by the Liberal Party, he will have better access to projects from Malacañang, which is advantageous to the people of the 5th District.
"I am always thinking of the greater good of our district. hope that Mayor Mirasol continues the legacy of Cong. Iggy," Ibañez said.
He said he was not able to attend the caucus as he also attended a medical conference in Manila, but he informed the governor about it.
"My loyalty and support goes with whatever UNA decides. I know that fielding Mayor Mirasol will be good for the people of the 5th District. I hope he will unite the major political forces in the district," Ibañez added.
Mirasol is also the bet of Grace Ibuna, the long-time partner of Iggy. She said she welcomed the endorsement which will help his candidacy.
"I am truly happy that Mayor Mirasol got the endorsement. I feel that he will continue the progress at the District and he will really care for the people’s needs," Ibuna said in a statement.
"I shall go there to personally help him in any way I can. Cong. Iggy and I are known to stand by what we believe in and deliver the services the people need," she said.
"I hope he will prioritize education and livelihood programs that will address the poverty (in the district)," Ibuna added.
Aside from Ibañez, Iggy’s sister and former Kasangga Partylist Rep. Ma. Lourdes Arroyo-Lesaca also backed out of the race.
"We are still grieving over the loss of my brother and upon consultation with my family, we deemed it best not to participate at this time," Lesaca said in a statement.
Ibuna earlier said she will run for the post if Mirasol does not get the endorsement.
That leaves Mirasol’s possible contenders to three: Board Member Emilio Yulo III, who is his nephew; former Board Member Enrique Montilla, who is Lesaca’s nephew; and former Isabela Mayor Renato Malabor.
The congressional seat of the 5th District was declared vacant following the death of Iggy on January 26.
Provincial Elections Supervisor Jesse Suarez said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has approved a budget of P21.6 million for the special election.
The Comelec is yet to release the official calendar of activities for the special poll but Suarez said the filing of Certificates of Candidacy could be on May 13 to 15 and the campaign period from May 16 to midnight of May 31.
As of January this year, the number of registered voters in the 5th District is 206,466; with 50,506 in Himamaylan City, 29,200 in Binalbagan, 41,682 in Hinigaran, 28,835 in Isabela, 35,307 in La Castellana, 20,936 in Moises Padilla.*