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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, May 10, 2014
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‘Negros needs a senator, too’

Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District), one of the richest members of the House of Representatives, said yesterday that he is concentrating on work in his district, but did not categorically rule out a run for the Senate in 2016.

“It is flattering that people are considering me to run for higher office, but, at this point, I am really more glued to the third district to get a lot of unfinished business done,” Benitez said.

Reports have said that President Benigno Aquino III had asked him to run for the Senate.

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., early this week, said he is endorsing Benitez for senator in 2016 and he thinks the whole province will support him.

The province has not had a senator in a long time, the governor said.

Yesterday, Benitez said that, at this point, 90 percent of his focus is on the affairs of the district and only 10 percent on politics.

While he refused to say whether he is considering running for senator, Benitez said Negros Occidental needs a senator to assist it in accessing resources on the national level to boost its growth.

Iloilo has greatly improved, partly because it has two senators, Franklin Drilon and Miriam Santiago, he said.

“See how much construction and development is happening in Iloilo. For us to have a voice in government to access funds and resources, definitely, we need the help of a senator who comes from our province,” he added.

But Benitez, who is chairman of the Liberal Party in Negros Occidental, said the President has not decided yet on the LP line up for 2016.

“He will probably decide at a much later date, it is really too early to say who are the people running for sure. It probably will be a mixture of those interested, and those with the winnability factor,” he added.*CPG

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