LP allies in Mindanao jump ship to support Duterte

DAVAO, Philippines – The ruling Liberal Party (LP) might suffer huge losses in Mindanao in the 2016 elections as its allies cross over to the camp of a Mindanaoan presidential candidate.

No less than Davao del Norte Governor and long-time LP ally Rodolfo del Rosario told Rappler on Saturday, November 28, that Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's bid for the presidency "changes the equation and Mindanao equation for that matter."

Even rival political camps in Tagum City abandoned their presidential candidates for Duterte.

Former Tagum City mayor Rey Uy, now the ex-chairperson of LP's chapter in the city, left the party to support the Davao mayor. He said the "hearts and minds" of the people in Tagum are supporting Duterte.

SWITCHING SIDES. Uy is among the former LP allies who are now supporting a Duterte presidency. Rappler file photo.

SWITCHING SIDES. Uy is among the former LP allies who are now supporting a Duterte presidency. Rappler file photo.

"I hope Mar Roxas will appreciate my honesty because I don't want to be accused of being dishonest and I don't want to betray LP. Yes, I tried hard, but Digong's iron leadership and his [stance] on illegal drugs abuse [as well as] graft and corruption [fit] the leadership that we need," Uy said.

"Of course, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Mindanao to represent our country."

Uy abandoned the ruling party on Thursday afternoon, just hours after the Human Rights Watch re-released its report implicating him in the summary killings in Tagum when he was still the city mayor. (READ: Tagum killings: NBI files murder raps vs ex-mayor, 28 others)

"It's election time, so what should I expect?" Uy said.

He is running to be Tagum's next local chief executive against re-electionist Mayor Allan Rellon of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.

Apart from Uy, two other politicians expressed support for a Duterte presidency.

Graduating Davao del Norte Second District Representative Anton Lagdameo told Rappler: "We will deliver the vote for Duterte."

Banana tycoon Antonio Floirendo, who is seeking to replace Lagdameo unopposed, earlier announced his support for Duterte as well. – Rappler.com