PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte endorsed the candidacies of reelectionist Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and her running mate, Dr. Maria Theresa Heyrosa, on Thursday night, March 31, 2022.

Duterte endorsed the duo during the proclamation rally of PDP-Laban in Barangay Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City, according to Sugbo News, the official news platform of the Cebu Provincial Government.

The pair are up against gubernatorial candidate and former tourism secretary Joseph Felix Mari “Ace” Durano” (Partido Pilipino sa Pagbabago Party) and his running mate, reelectionist Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III (Liberal Party), in the May polls.

Duterte is chairman of the PDP-Laban faction headed by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Duterte also endorsed other PDP-Laban local candidates like the tandem of reelectionists Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan and Vice Mayor Celedonio “Celsi” Sitoy, the tandem of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama for mayor and his running mate Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia for vice mayor, as well as candidates from the towns of Consolacion, Tabogon and Cordova, according to Sugbo News.

The Mandaue City Government also announced that Duterte had also endorsed reelectionist Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes “and the entire Team Mandaue” during the same rally.

Garcia has yet to announce One Cebu party’s official bet for president in the May polls.

Its high-ranking members are split on their support for candidates for the country’s highest post.

One Cebu secretary general and House Deputy Speaker Pablo John “PJ” Garcia (Cebu, third) has announced his support for the candidacy of Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso for president.

But his niece and the governor’s daughter, Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco, and her husband, Rep. Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco (Cebu, fifth) have voiced their support for dictator’s son and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Marcos has also secured endorsements from Rama’s Partido Barug and the opposing factions in Lapu-Lapu City even if President Duterte has called the presidential aspirant a “weak leader.”

Although they have different presidential bets, Governor Garcia, her brother and her daughter, however, are united in supporting Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, for vice president.

In a statement sent to SunStar Cebu, Rama thanked Duterte for formally endorsing him and Garcia.

Rama said this was the second time he received an endorsement from Duterte ever since he became President in 2016. The first time he received an endorsement was in 2019 when he ran for vice mayor.

Aside from Rama and Garcia, Duterte likewise endorsed the candidacies of Cebu City councilors Prisca Niña Mabatid and Eduardo Rama Jr. as Partido Barug’s representatives for the city’s north and south districts, respectively.