BACOLOD City – Rep. Stephen Paduano of Abang Lingkod Partylist said on Sept 12, 2018 that he would no longer run for mayor of Bacolod City.
Talks of Paduano running for Bacolod City mayor became rife after he transferred his voter’s registration here last month.
Paduano reiterated his three options for 2019 – retire from politics, run for mayor, and seek a last term as Abang Lingkod Partylist representative.
He pointed out that retiring from politics is no longer an option after a talk with his ally and benefactor, Negros Occ. third district Rep. Alfredo Benitez who is now on his third and last term.
He said there are still a lot of work he can do in Congress and with Benitez no longer in Congress after 2019 polls, he has to ensure the existence and strengthen the Visayan bloc or group of lawmakers from Visayas.
He added that while Benitez will no longer be in Congress, the latter would still be actively involved in the Visayan bloc being the convener of the group.
As to talks of running for Bacolod City mayor, Paduano said, “I will no longer pursue it.”
He also clarified he is not involved with any political group.
This, after a photo of him with former Mayor Monico Puentevella, Councilor Kalaw Puentevella, and businessman Vladimir Gonzales was uploaded on social media.
He stressed that he will only support former Vice Mayor Thaddy Sayson who will stage a comeback in 2019 for the same position.
One reason why he has stricken out the mayoral bid in his 2019 option list is because he believes no one can win against incumbent Mayor Evelio Leonardia in a three-cornered fight.
He also noted that number one councilor Ricardo Tan is hell-bent on running for mayor.
“With him (Tan) and me running against Leonardia, how can we win?” Paduano asked.
He added that businessman Vladimir Gonzales is also eyeing the mayor’s office.
“The only option left for me now is to seek a third term as partylist congressman,” Paduano added.