Negros Occidental comes up short in delivering promised votes for Roxas

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Negros Occidental wound up short on its promise to deliver one million votes for Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel Roxas II. 

Roxas led the presidential race in the province, but got only 579,810 votes or 55.03% of the total votes, according to data from the provincial certificate of canvass.

He is followed by rival Senator Grace Poe with 222,440 votes (21.11%), with president-elect Rodrigo Duterte at 3rd place with 190,196 votes (18.05%).

Negros Occidental is the fifth most vote-rich province in the country with 1.6 million registered voters. It is a known bailiwick of Roxas, as his mother Judy Araneta-Roxas hails from Bago City.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., a staunch supporter of the Aquino administration, had earlier vowed that the Negros Island Region could deliver 1.5 million votes for the administration standard bearer, with one million votes coming from Negros Occidental.

The governor had stressed that Roxas will have an overwhelming win in the province, citing how Roxas obtained 707,313 votes against Vice President Jejomar Binay's 221,679 votes in the 2010 vice presidential race.

Marañon had even said that Roxas will surpass the number of votes he got in the province from when he ran as vice president in 2010.

The governor also pointed out that Roxas was instrumental in the creation of Negros Island Region when he was still the interior secretary, since he endorsed the proposal to President Benigno Aquino III.

Aquino signed the executive order creating the new region on May 29, 2015.

Breakdown of votes

Roxas won in 29 of the 31 localities in the province, with San Carlos City and Pulupandan town being the only exceptions.

Poe won in San Carlos City with 35,701 votes, followed by Duterte with 12,052 and Roxas with 10,144. The mayor of San Carlos City, Gerardo Valmayor Jr, is a supporter of Poe.

Meanwhile, Duterte won in Pulupandan with 5,650 votes, while Roxas came in second with 4,651. Former Pulupandan Mayor Magdaleno Peña was among the supporters who welcomed Duterte when he visited Bacolod City last February.

Bago City, the hometown of Roxas’ mother, delivered the most number of votes for the LP bet with 46,934 votes (67.56%), followed by Duterte with 11,294 votes (16.25%).

In Marañon's bailiwick, Sagay City, Roxas obtained 43,799 votes (79.43%), with Duterte coming in at far second with 6,492 votes (11.77%). In Kabankalan City, Roxas got 43,565 votes (65.74%) as compared to Duterte's 10,857 votes (16.38%), while in Cadiz City, Roxas again led the tallies with 41,362 votes (69.90%), against Duterte's 9,412 votes (15.90%).

In Victorias City, Roxas topped the tally with 18,904 votes (42.15%), followed by Poe with 16,003 votes (35.68)%). The city is the bailiwick of former LP provincial chairman and 3rd District Representative Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, who is backing Poe. 

Meanwhile, Roxas’ running mate, vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo, received 614,440 votes in the province.

While the province failed to deliver the promised votes for Roxas, Marañon said he believes that Roxas is satisfied with his numbers from the province.

“I think he is satisfied with the result since his votes are substantial. If all the votes of the three other candidates are totaled, he still has more votes compared to them,” Marañon said.

He added that Duterte had not yet announced his presidential bid when they targeted the promised votes for Roxas.

But just three days before the May 9 elections, Marañon projected that Roxas will have a winning margin of 500,000 over his rivals in the province.

Cooperation with new administration

With Duterte leading the vote count, Marañon vowed that he will cooperate with the administration of the president-elect. 

“I have been cooperating. I hope he can deliver what he promised. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s cooperate with him for the good of the country. The people have spoken,” he said.

He added that the people should cooperate with the elected officials for the good of the country, now that the elections are over.

Former Negros Occidental governor Rafael Coscolluela, critic of Duterte during the campaign period, said they accept the results with humility. 

“I congratulate him and wish him success. I congratulate his supporters and ask them to be magnanimous in victory,” he said.

He also said that it is “time for everyone to rise above the partisanship and be part of the solution to our many problems.” – Rappler.com