Vote for president divides, unites local politicians | Inquirer News

Vote for president divides, unites local politicians

Voters filling up their ballots, FOR STORY: Vote for president divides, unites local politicians


(Second of three parts)

During the kick-off campaign rally of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte at Philippine Arena in Bulacan last month, Occidental Mindoro Gov. Eduardo Gadiano and congressional aspirant Leody Tarriela openly supported the UniTeam, even though they were not members of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), the little-known party that adopted Marcos as its standard-bearer. They are candidates of Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan, an even lesser-known group.


Other politicians in Occidental Mindoro, including mayors belonging to the Liberal Party (LP) under Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato, who is running for governor against Gadiano, are still keeping quiet about their preferred candidate for president.


In Oriental Mindoro province, second district Rep. Alfonso Umali Jr. of the LP, a reelectionist, accompanied Robredo, Pangilinan, and their senatorial slate during their visit to the capital city of Calapan on Thursday.

First district Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon endorsed Robredo and introduced her as a personal friend.

In Palawan, Gov. Jose Alvarez supports Marcos but other provincial political leaders have not declared their allegiance.

In Quezon, the Suarez political clan, led by Gov. Danilo Suarez, has endorsed Marcos and Duterte. Robredo, however, has the backing of a former representative and agriculture secretary, Proceso Alcala, a member of another political clan in the province.

Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas is supporting Marcos but Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos Recto and her husband, Sen. Ralph Recto, are backing Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso.

Political leaders in Albay province, despite their different party affiliations, have agreed to formally endorse the presidential bid of Robredo, a fellow Bicolano.


In the 2016 vice presidential polls, Robredo garnered 70 percent of the 3.1 million Bicol votes.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who supports Duterte for vice president, said he chose to back Robredo as president “not as a Bicolano but as an economist [because] she is good for the economy and for the country, and the Philippines would be in good hands under her leadership.”

Aside from Salceda, the mayors of the three cities and 15 towns of Albay also support Robredo.

After photos of three Bicol governors — Antonio Kho of Masbate, Joseph Cua of Catanduanes and Edgar Tallado of Camarines Norte — seemingly endorsing Marcos went viral, Cua clarified in a radio interview that he was just called by Ilocos Sur political kingpin and Narvacan Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson to a meeting with the others.

Cua said he would back Robredo.

In Sorsogon province, outgoing governor and senatorial aspirant Francis “Chiz” Escudero has not publicly endorsed a presidential candidate but has appeared on the same stage with Robredo during her sortie in Sorsogon on Feb. 9.

Escudero, a guest senatorial candidate of the Robredo-Pangilinan team, was also seen at the campaign caravan of Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto III in the province last week.

In Camarines Sur, where Robredo served as representative, former Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., who is running against Luigi Villafuerte for governor, has expressed support for Robredo.

The current leader of the Villafuerte political clan, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte, has not endorsed a presidential candidate.

In Cebu, the province’s biggest political party has not come up with a common candidate although two of their stalwarts are backing different presidential aspirants.

Cebu Third District Rep. Pablo John Garcia, secretary-general of One Cebu, has been openly rooting for Domagoso. He would always accompany the Manila mayor whenever the Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer visits the province.

Liloan Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco, a daughter of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, is supporting Marcos.

If there is one thing that One Cebu members agree on, it is to support Duterte’s vice presidential bid.

In Cebu City, the coalition of Barug-Kusog-Panaghiusa, (which means stand strong and united) is ironically divided on who to support for president.

Reelectionist Mayor Michael Rama’s Barug-Kusog is backing Marcos for president but coalition partner Panaghiusa is for Domagoso.

Lawyer Jose Daluz III of Panaghiusa said his party could not support Marcos because it was founded by his mother, Nenita Cortez-Daluz, the late Rep. Antonio Cuenco, and others who fought against martial law.

Robredo has the backing of Bando-Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan led by former Mayor Tomas Osmeña, whose father, the late Sen. Sergio Osmeña Jr., was defeated by Marcos’ father for the presidency in 1969.

The same division could be seen on Panay and Guimaras islands. Most officials are split between Robredo and Marcos.

Among those openly supporting Robredo are Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. and former Guimaras representative and gubernatorial candidate Joaquin Carlos Rahman Nava; Representatives Emmanuel Billones (Capiz), Ma. Lucille Nava (Guimaras) and Lorenz Defensor (Iloilo); and Mayors Jerry Treñas (Iloilo City) and Ronnie Dadivas (Roxas City).

Marcos is getting support from Antique Gov. Rhodora Cadiao and Rep. Loren Legarda, Iloilo Representatives Janette Garin and Raul Tupas, and former Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron, who is running to reclaim his post.

In Eastern Visayas, Governors Rogelio Espina of Biliran and Damian Mercado of Southern Leyte have endorsed Marcos whose mother, Imelda, is from Leyte.



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Local battle lines shaping May national polls


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