Durano scion to campaign for Poe, Escudero
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The tandem of Senators Grace Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero have tapped a scion of an influential political clan in Cebu to campaign for them in the vote-rich province.
Rep. Joseph Ace Durano of Cebu’s fifth district confirmed on Friday that he would not seek reelection but had decided to accept Poe’s offer to become their campaign manager.
“Senators Grace and Chiz asked me to help them in their campaign and slate which I accepted,” Ace said in an online interview.
Tapping Durano was also seen as a move to weaken the support of Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas in the province.
Ace, tourism secretary during the Arroyo administration, did not say the scope of his position, saying the two senators would make the announcement in the coming days.
Ace’s elder brother, Danao City Vice Mayor Ramon Red Durano VI, said Ace would be the campaign manager of Poe-Escudero tandem in the national level.
“He explained to us that it will be difficult on his part to run his campaign in the district and at the same time be the campaign manager in a national level,” Red said in a separate interview.
But as far as Bakud, their local party, was concerned, there was no decision yet as to who to support for president.
“Well, like I said, it’s a personal decision on his (Ace) part to accept the offer of senator Grace and Senator Chiz to be their campaign manager. And in terms of the party itself, we have not decided yet because like I said it was spur of the moment that Ace announced his decision to us. We have not discussed that on the party level if we will support Grace and Chiz,” said Red.
But Ace made it clear that he would support the tandem of Gov. Hilario Davide III and Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, both of LP, in their reelection bids. Magpale belongs to the Durano clan.
The fifth district is composed of Danao City and 10 towns including the Camotes Group of Islands. The whole district has more than 300,000 voters, which solidly delivered votes for LP during the 2013 elections when the Bakud party of the Duranos forged an alliance with LP.
Except for Liloan, all mayors in the fifth district are members of Bakud.
President Aquino, other LP officials and senatorial candidates visited the Duranos in Danao during the signing of alliance during the 2013 senatorial elections.
If indeed the Bakud party would go with Ace, Red admitted that LP could no longer get solid votes in Cebu, which has a voting population of about two million.
But he maintained that Bakud had yet to make a decision. Even if the alliance was only for the 2013 elections, he added, Bakud could not just ignore LP.
In an online interview, Ace said he consulted his father, Danao City Mayor Ramon Nito Durano and Red before making the difficult decision.
Nito is the chairperson of Bakud while Red is its president.
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