Gov sees tight Roxas-Duterte race in Cebu
NAGA CITY, Cebu—Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas made another visit to Cebu on Friday, holding rallies in Naga and Mandaue cities in a bid to retain voter support in Cebu, a province he won by almost half a million votes in 2010 though he lost the overall count.
This was Roxas’ second official campaign trip to Cebu, which has the biggest provincial voting populace in the country with 2.7 million voters.
The political landscape, however, has changed since 2010, with Cebu’s most influential political clans backing different candidates.
Roxas, an Ilonggo who has family roots in Capiz in Western Visayas, enjoys the support of incumbent Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, the Gullas and Quisumbing clans, among others.
One Cebu, led by gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia, has broken away from Vice President Jejomar Binay’s side in favor of Rodrigo Duterte, Davao City’s tough-talking mayor who also has blood ties in Central Visayas.
The Duranos, another political clan in the province, are supporting another presidential candidate, Sen. Grace Poe, while Cebu City’s incumbent mayor Michael Rama has cast his lot with Binay.
Asked who they think would be Roxas’ most formidable opponent in Cebu, Davide said: “Based on our assessment, it’s Duterte, principally because he’s Cebuano-speaking.”
“It will be a tight race between Mar and Duterte, I think,” Davide said. Roxas speaks Hiligaynon or the Ilonggo language.
Asked about One Cebu’s pledge to deliver one million votes for Duterte, the governor replied: “That’s impossible.” He noted that the party did not deliver after making the same pledge in 2010 to Gilberto Teodoro, who was the administration candidate then.
But Davide also could not say his party could do the same for Roxas, who was voted by one million Cebuanos in 2010. “I can’t promise but we will try our best to ensure his victory here,” he said.
Cebu Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. also made a pitch for Roxas. “You can’t deny that Mayor Duterte is Visayan. But Secretary Mar also comes from the Visayas and I think that will play a part in making people vote for him, especially since he won Cebu in the last election by a wide margin as vice president,” he said.
Roxas, asked by reporters to comment on observations that Duterte would be his toughest opponent in Cebu, said: “That’s a fact of life.”