LP mayor in Talisay City endorses Duterte

KD Suarez
LP mayor in Talisay City endorses Duterte
Amid reports about Liberal mayors refusing to support party bet Mar Roxas, Mayor Johnny delos Reyes is the first to endorse another presidential candidate

CEBU, Philippines – Reelectionist Mayor Johnny delos Reyes of Talisay City, the 4th most populous city in Metro Cebu, endorsed presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, March 21, making him the first local chief executive from the ruling Liberal Party (LP) to openly junk its standard-bearer.

“I am for a strong leader,” De Los Reyes said when Duterte, himself a mayor of Davao City, paid him a courtesy call at the Talisay City Hall – Duterte’s first sortie in the province after the presidential debate in Cebu City on Sunday.

De los Reyes said the country needs a leader like Duterte who is tough on corruption, drugs, and crime. 

Talisay is home to at least 120,000 registered voters.

There have been reports about LP mayors refusing to support LP presidential bet Manuel Roxas II, but De Los Reyes is the first to come out in the open. In early March, he said that he was eyeing another candidate, and while he did not mention anyone, his son hinted that his father’s group was inclined towards Duterte. (READ: LP starts losing southern allies)

During a recent visit to Cebu before the debate, Roxas said it would be better if LP members who were not supporting him would leave the party rather than secretly work against his slate.

On Monday, Clifford delos Reyes, son of the Talisay mayor who is seeking council seat, told Rappler, “Roxas has been unfairly treating us. He does not know how to recognize his supporters in the provinces.”

He lamented that “Roxas, instead of recognizing us, he recognized our opponents.”

The mayor told the media earlier in March that he would consider leaving LP after he was ignored by Roxas at their Cebu sorties.

Many of the province’s mayors and strong candidates are members of the LP. In the last election, Roxas won in Cebu over current Vice President Jejomar Binay by a margin of about 700,000 votes.

While he is still with the LP, De los Reyes is no longer supporting the LP’s bets. “We junk Roxas and [vice presidential bet Leni] Robredo only,” he said.

In Talisay, Duterte met with supporters from other towns like Minglanilla and Naga. In Carcar, he was scheduled to meet as well with supporters from nearby Sibonga and San Fernando towns.

This was Duterte’s 3rd time to visit Cebu province since he announced last November his intention to seek the presidency. 

On Monday, March 21, Duterte met with mayors of Cebu’s southern towns.

Duterte, who lived in Danao City for 5 years before migrating to Davao, however, lacks support from Cebu’s political families and alliances. Courting political clans is a key strategy candidates take when they want a chunk of Cebu’s 2.7 million votes. 

Although Duterte is related to the Duranos of the Bakud party in Danao, the family has pledged its support to Grace Poe. The campaign manager of Poe’s slate is 5th District Representative Ace Durano.

Walay liderato diri sa Cebu nisuporta nako. Kon mapildi ko diri, dali raman pud siguro patyon mga tao diri,” Duterte joked on Sunday night at a concert event. (None of the leaders here support me. If I lose here, it should be easy to kill people here.)

Duterte also did the rounds of Lapu-Lapu City, where his political party, PDP-Laban, held a rally at Camella Homes in Bangkal Monday evening. – Rappler.com 

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