Negros Oriental leaders unite, to field common bets in 2025 polls

DUMAGUETE: Political leaders in Negros Oriental have agreed to set aside differences by fielding common candidates in the 2025 midterm elections. Negros Oriental 2nd District Rep. Manuel Sagarbarria made the announcement on Monday as the province commemorated the first death anniversary of slain governor Roel Degamo at the latter's family's residence in Barangay Bonawon in Siaton town. Sagarbarria said the decision to field candidates to major provincial positions was a result of meetings and discussions with national government and local officials. 'Speaker of the House Martin Romualdez called me recently, saying that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. was seated right next to him, and he said I was given the task to unite Negros Oriental,' Sagarbarria said. Sagarbarria said the job is not easy but he took it and started meeting with Degamo's widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo, and other members of her camp. The congressman said they decided that his son, incumbent Governor Chaco Sagarbarria, will seek reelection; Siaton Mayor Cezanne Fritz Diaz will run for vice governor; and Mayor Degamo for Third District representative. The older Sagarbarria said it was not an easy decision for him and the mayor to relent since they were eyeing different positions. Degamo's widow thus dropped her plan to seek the gubernatorial post. Mayor Degamo sought support for the arrangement. 'They expressed apprehension that whoever gets to sit at the helm of the provincial government may not be as approachable, open, helpful, and friendly as Gov. Roel especially because they are kachila or Filipino-Spanish mestizos,' she said. But the mayor urged them to give the Sagarbarria camp a chance in the name of peace and development. 'It is time to forge alliances with them,' she said. The governor also briefly spoke about their first association about a decade or so ago, when he was still a city councilor, mentioning the acronym 'SagDe' for Sagarbarria and Degamo. He said they already had amiable relations despite different poli tical alliances and is looking forward to rekindling the relationship. During the past elections, the Sagarbarrias were allies of the Teveses, who are the Degamos' rivals. The suspected mastermind in the Degamo slay, expelled Third District congressman Arnolfo Teves Jr., is still in hiding. Murder case Meanwhile, the Degamo widow is optimistic that a final judgment on the case of her husband and other victims would be reached soon. She thanked the national government for exerting all efforts to bring the perpetrators to court and hoped that the mastermind will be brought to justice soon. Hundreds of supporters, including local officials and ex-politicians, joined the motorcade from the crime scene in Pamplona, where a mass was held, to Bonawon. Also present were some survivors and their families. Dr. Liland Estacion, the Provincial Health Officer who suffered serious leg injury after being shot by the gunmen during the attack, said the pain remains but life has to go on. 'I am very emotional because I still feel pain in my feet and justice has not yet been served," Estacion said. Four trials are scheduled in June, August, September and October. Source: Philippines News Agency