BACOLOD CITY – After declaring to seek reelection for a second term as a “neutral” candidate, this city’s Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya has obtained the support of both reelectionist Mayor Evelio Leonardia and challenger former Negros Occidental 3rd district Rep. Alfredo.
“I appreciate their gestures of support with regards to our decision,” Gasataya, an official candidate of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), said in a radio interview on Thursday.
When he filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) on Monday, without affiliating with a local coalition, Gasataya, who is previously part of Leonardia’s Grupo Progreso, reiterated that his decision was based on “the most important and sacred consideration in mind – the lives of the people of Bacolod City” and is “ultimately premised on the realization of the Bacolod City General Hospital”.
He authored House Bill 6731 on the establishment of the Bacolod City General Hospital, which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte through Republic Act 11564 last June 24.
During the launch of the Grupo Progreso slate on Wednesday, Gasataya’s photo was included in the banner of candidates displayed inside the hotel venue.
“As regards to the presence of his picture here, I called him (on Tuesday) after consulting Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran. I asked (Gasataya) if it’s alright with him. He said it’s okay,” Leonardia said, adding that they consider the lawmaker “technically a part of Grupo Progreso”.
“As far as the mayoralty contest is concerned, he said he’s neutral and we have accepted that,” he said.
On Tuesday, Benitez said in a press conference that Gasataya has his support whichever side the legislator decides to be with.
“As far as Cong. Greg Gasataya is concerned, we go back a long way. We have worked together and have been friends for a long time. With that, whatever decision he makes – whether he stayed with Mayor Bing, whether he is neutral, better if he transferred to us…I will support whatever decision he makes. Whichever side he is with, Cong. Greg will have my vote,” he added.
On Thursday afternoon, Gasataya finally got a challenger in the person of independent candidate Romy Gustilo, a resident of Paglaum Village in Barangay Mansilingan, who called for a change in the electoral system and local governance.
“I extend my sincere appreciation for their kind words and may we all continue to work for the welfare of the people of Bacolod City,” he added. (PNA)