Barbers, Romarate of Surigao Norte ditch Roxas, support Poe
SURIGAO CITY — A major political alliance in Surigao del Norte has dumped Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas for Senator Grace Poe.
In a surprise move, the camps of Rep. Guillermo Romarate Jr. and Robert Ace Barbers of the Nacionalista Party (NP) have switched sides, ditching Roxas to embrace the candidacy of Poe in a rousing welcome of the senator here on Tuesday (Apr. 12).
Before being junked, Roxas had been considered the “presidentiable” to beat in Surigao del Norte as he enjoyed support from both local LP and NP parties.
Romarate, a gubernatoral candidate, and Barbers, a candidate for the province’s second congressional district seat, said they reached the decision to support Poe after consulting with their leaders in the province.
Barbers, however, clarified that the decision to pick the neophyte senator was a “local matter,” and that they were given free reign by the NP leadership to choose whom to support.
“This is a decision made by local NP leaders and the party leadership has nothing to do with it. We’re free to choose, and we have chosen Grace Poe,” the former congressman said.
On the vice presidential race, however, Barbers said the local NP leadership were still deliberating, as of Tuesday, whether to support Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, or pick another candidate in other parties.
Romarate said Poe’s “clear vision” for Mindanao set her apart from other presidential contenders.
“Senator Poe has concrete plans for peace and development in Mindanao, starting with the Mindanao railway and bigger allocation for our island. We believe that her clear and concise platforms will usher an era of good governance, where corruption and criminality are drastically stamped out,” he said.
Romarate and Barbers formed an alliance in 2015 against the Matugas political clan, the dominant political force in the province allied with LP. SFM
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