CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Despite his non-endorsement of any presidential candidate, President Rodrigo Duterte, consciously or unconsciously, gave presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s candidacy a boost that he practically won all of Mindanao in the just-held elections, a former vice mayor and one of the original members of the PDP-Laban in Cagayan de Oro said on Tuesday, May 17.
Former vice mayor Antonio Soriano said the so-called “Duterte factor” worked well for Marcos Jr. because he had the President’s daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, as his running mate.
“All he (Duterte) had to do was keep silent. People knew he would never have endorsed (Leni) Robredo, (Isko) Moreno, (Manny) Pacquiao, or (Ping) Lacson because of Sara. It was enough that Sara was Marcos’ running mate,” said Soriano, the convenor of the Cagayan de Oro-based Citizens’ Watch for Good Governance (CWGG).
The election outcome in Mindanao would have been different had it not been for Sara, he said.
“It was a ‘Solid South’ because of Duterte,” Soriano told Rappler.
He said the place where the presidential candidates – and their running mates – came from mattered for many of the voters in Mindanao.
Except for Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, and Sarangani, Marcos won in all other cities and provinces in Mindanao.
Understandably, according to Soriano, voters in Marawi and Lanao del Sur went for a fellow Maranao, Faisal Mangondato, because they identify with the lesser-known presidential candidate due to his tribal roots.
Marcos was a poor third to Mangondato, next to Robredo, in Marawi City, and second in Lanao del Sur.
The same was true in Sarangani in the Soccsksargen region where Senator Pacquiao dominated the race because it was considered his home province.
Although born in Bukidnon, Pacquiao has identified Sarangani as his province. His brother, Sarangani Representative Rogelio Pacquiao, was elected governor of the province.
“The ratio was 2:1 for Marcos in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental alone. That goes to show that President Duterte has remained popular and commands votes in Mindanao even if he is silent,” Soriano told Rappler.
Another factor for Marcos’ overwhelming win in Mindanao was the support of many local political dynasties, many of whom were supporters of Duterte.
Soriano cited the election results in the provinces of Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, and Camiguin where Vice President Robredo overwhelmingly won the vice presidential race against Marcos in 2016 but lost to him in 2022.
He said the winning political group in Misamis Occidental led by 2nd District Representative and now governor-elect Henry Oaminal turned the tables in the province in favor of Marcos.
In Misamis Oriental, Soriano said, the dominant political dynasties led by Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano and Gingoog City Vice-Mayor Peter Unabia allied and went straight for the Marcos-Duterte tandem.
Camiguin island province’s lone political dynasty led by Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo also dominated the elections, and fully supported the Marcos-Duterte ticket, he said.
Soriano said the migration of many Ilocanos and Ilonggos to Mindanao was another factor. The Ilocanos in Mindanao identify with Marcos, and the Ilonggos with Duterte who traces his roots to the Visayas.
“There are many of them in Bukidnon, Claveria (Misamis Oriental), and Cotabato provinces,” he said.
Although the migrations were sponsored by the national government in the early 20th century and reinforced under the Quezon and Magsaysay administrations, Soriano said, many of them were brought to Mindanao by the government during the years of dictatorship. – Rappler.com