ONE Cebu confirmed yesterday that it will support Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential campaign and promised to deliver a “one-million-vote
difference” for him on May 9.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after Mayor Duterte and gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia, in a press conference, said they were “working on an alliance.”
“The unqualified support of One Cebu for Duterte is expected to significantly boost his presidential bid. This may turn out to be the start of a bandwagon effect as other parties and politicians across the country may follow suit and switch loyalties and adopt him as their presidential candidate,” One Cebu said in a press statement.
For now, however, the endorsement does not yet extend to Duterte’s running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano. The party is reportedly still consulting its members on whom to support for the vice presidency.
After being informed of One Cebu’s decision to back him, Duterte reportedly said, “Kabahan na kayo (You’d better start worrying),” in reference to the four other candidates for the presidency.
With 2.7 million voters, Cebu has the largest voting population among provinces this year.
Two weeks ago, One Cebu ended its partnership with the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which is fielding Vice President Jejomar Binay for Malacañang.
However, reelectionist Rep. Gwen Garcia, who was considered a potential Senate candidate for UNA in 2013, has decided to continue supporting Binay.
“History will repeat itself in this election,” said Winston Garcia, referring to how Gloria Arroyo won a large margin in Cebu in the 2004 elections.
Arroyo won 965,630 votes in Cebu when she ran for president in 2004, after serving the three years left of Joseph Estrada’s term. Estrada stepped down in January 2001, after losing the police and military’s support and amid street protests triggered by the Senate’s refusal to examine some evidence during his impeachment trial.
The margin that Arroyo gained in Cebu in 2004 represented about 80 percent of her total margin nationwide over the actor Fernando Poe Jr. Poe received 125,099 votes in Cebu. All three persons running for Cebu governor in that year—Gwen Garcia, former congressman Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr., and former vice governor John Henry Gregory “John-john” Osmeña—supported Arroyo during that election.
Now, Poe’s daughter Sen. Grace Poe is leading the latest Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations surveys on whom voters prefer to support for the presidency.
Duterte is in second place.
Winston said that One Cebu decided to support Duterte after their meeting last Saturday night, during which it “became the logical and clear stand for One Cebu to support one of its own, and a Bisaya for President.”
“WinNer ta, Duterte pa,” Atty. Garcia quipped. (WinNer is the party’s acronym for Winston and vice gubernatorial candidate Dr. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, a former congresswoman and ex-Provincial Board member.)
Winston added that One Cebu’s “platform, ideals and vision are in perfect sync” with Duterte’s platform of government, especially on infrastructure.
The party’s statement also pointed out that the Zubiri family of Bukidnon and administration coalition supporter Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro have both decided to support Duterte.
Meanwhile, Talisay City mayoral candidate Romeo Villarante announced that he, too, will support Duterte’s presidential campaign.
Vice Mayor Villarante made the announcement following One Cebu’s confirmation that it will now support the Davao City mayor.
But while he is amenable to One Cebu’s support for Duterte, Talisay City Mayor Johnny de los Reyes said he plans to persuade the Davao City mayor not to accept Villarante as one of his local allies.
“Didto man unta na siyang Binay, nganong Duterte na man pud na siya? Mauwaw unta siya mangangkon ug suporta sa ubang kandidato kay bisag asa raman na siya (He used to pledge his support for Binay, so why is he for Duterte now? He should be ashamed to profess support for another candidate, considering how he keeps moving from one camp to the next),” de los Reyes told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.
2 Talisay bets
In his first attempt to get reelected, de los Reyes faces Villarante and former Talisay City mayor and ex-congressman Eduardo Gullas. Gullas’s Alayon Party has pledged to support the Liberal Party’s (LP) Manuel “Mar” Roxas II for the presidency.
It was the LP’s decision to ally itself with Alayon that strained its relationship with LP members in Cebu Province’s first district.
Villarante, who formally launched his campaign sorties yesterday, also told reporters that Winston Garcia called him up about One Cebu’s decision to support Duterte.
“Agi sa pag-ila nato sa liderato ni Winston Garcia, kung kinsa man ang iyang presidente, mao sad ang akong president (In recognition of his leadership, whoever Winston Garcia supports for president, I will support as well),” Villarante added.
But I declared support for Duterte first, de los Reyes pointed out.
“Ato lang mahunghungan si Duterte. Makaistorya rata ana niya (I’ll just point this out to Duterte. I can talk to him),” the mayor added.