MANILA, Philippines – With a little over a week left before the May 9 polls, has presidential survey front-runner Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gained the support of Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla?
On Friday, April 29, Remulla – an ally of Vice President Jejomar Binay – attended Duterte’s luncheon meeting at a Pasay City restaurant.
Responding to questions, Duterte said he and the governor, who was earlier reported to be breaking away from Binay, “promised to work together.”
He refused to divulge more details of what that cooperation entailed, but said that Remulla did not offer any promises nor did he commit to deliver votes from Cavite. The province, with 1.84 million registered voters, has the second highest number of voters in the country, next to Cebu.
“Parang it is not an accepted practice na magkamayan ka tapos you rattle off the things that you want from the guy, hindi ginagawa ‘yan ng mga pulitiko,” Duterte said.
(It is not an accepted promise to shake hands and then you rattle off the things you want from the guy. Politicians don’t do that.)
Asked if Remulla’s presence there meant that the Cavite governor was indeed breaking away from Binay, Duterte only said Remulla should answer the question, not him.
Remulla declined to grant media interviews.
The Davao mayor, who has been topping pre-election surveys in recent weeks, also claimed that there were several others who were switching over to his campaign, but did not name names or cite how many are now his supporters.
Binay: No comment on speculations
On the sidelines of a campaign sortie in Nueva Ecija on Friday, Binay refused to believe that Remulla had dropped him. He said he would have to hear this from Remulla himself.
“Ayokong magcomment sa speculations e (I don’t want to comment on speculations). I’ve been consistent with that,” Binay said.
Remulla is a known ally of the Vice President, even serving as an adviser on domestic and political policy for Binay’s presidential bid. At a campaign rally in Cavite, the Vice President said he would appoint Remulla as his interior secretary if he wins the presidency.
Binay said he was not worried about Duterte’s meeting with Remulla.
“Hindi ako concerned. Sa dami ng nakikita ko [na suporta] sa kalye, biro mo ‘yun? Kung saka-sakali lang, sabi ko nga kay Cong [Manny] Pacquiao, ganyan talaga ang buhay. You lose some, you gain some, you gain some more,” said the Vice President.
(I’m not concerned. With the number of supporters I see on the streets, just imagine that. Just in case, just as I told Congressman Pacquaio, that’s life. You lose some, you gain some more.)
No formal goodbye yet
If Remulla confirms the reports, his family would be the second political clan from a vote-rich province to bolt UNA.
The Garcias of Cebu already dropped Binay for Duterte in March, severing a years-long alliance with the Vice President.
Binay’s daughter Senator Nancy Binay that Remulla has yet to formally speak with the party.
“Ako siguro hangga’t di ko naririnig mismo kay Governor Jonvic, hindi ako maniniwala na iniwanan na niya kami,” said Nancy, the last person in the Binay camp to talk to Remulla before his trip abroad.
(As long as I haven’t heard it from Governor Jonvic himself, I won’t believe that he has already left us.)
Nancy earlier told Rappler that Remulla did not mention any plans to switch his support to Duterte during that meeting. The two are scheduled to meet again next week.
Nancy said people should wait for Remulla before jumping to conclusions.
“Antayin na lang natin. Kasi in a relationship, kapag may boyfriend tsaka girlfriend, ‘di ba kahit gaano kahirap, kailangan may formal na pagpapaalam,” she said.
(Let’s wait for him. It’s like a relationship between boyfriend and girlfriend, even if it’s hard, there should be a formal goodbye.) – Rappler.com