CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The push for a Leni Robredo-Sara Duterte tandem, dubbed RoSa, is spreading like wildfire in Mindanao and has reached the predominantly Muslim province of Lanao del Sur.
At least 15 mayors have joined the bandwagon and were preparing to launch the RoSa campaign in the province, said a mayoral candidate and former president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines in Lanao del Sur on Sunday, March 27.
Amenodin Sumagayan, vice mayor and a mayoral bet in Taraka town, said his group was expecting more officials and candidates, mostly allies of Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong Jr., to join the RoSa campaign.
Sumagayan, who is seeking to succeed his wife Nashiba as Taraka mayor, is an ally of Adiong, a supporter of presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Incidentally, Sumagayan’s wife is a sister of Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra.
“We are allies at the local level but beyond that, we respect each other’s choices. The governor respects our choice,” he said.
Sumagayan’s declaration came on the same day Misamis Oriental gubernatorial bet and 2nd District Representative Juliette Uy announced her and her group’s decision to support the presidential bid of Vice President Robredo as well as Davao City Mayor Duterte’s campaign for the vice presidency.
Sumagayan called on Lanao del Sur’s residents to think and reflect on their choice for the presidency during the monthlong Ramadan that begins in April.
“Many of us remember the atrocities committed against us in the past, during Martial Law,” he said. “We should vote only for those whom we think are deserving, and not because others want us to vote for their choices.”
Sumagayan also said Robredo’s pronouncements during the presidential debates and interviews factored in their decision to choose the Vice President as the “best candidate for the presidency.”
“Her programs and solutions are very specific,” he said.
Sumagayan added that his group admired Robredo’s work despite the relatively low budgets given to the Office of the Vice President.
“She came and helped us during the trying times in Lanao del Sur, during the Marawi siege in 2017,” he said.
He said they were also supporting Sara Duterte because of how she has governed in Davao City.
Over a week later, on April 7, another group of supporters of Robredo and Duterte virtually launched what they called the Kay Leni-Sara (KaLeSa) movement, describing it as people-led, with most of their members coming from Mindanao.
Among the key persons is Olongapo City Councilor Kaye Legaspi, an officer of presidential candidate Isko Moreno’s Aksyon Demokratiko. Legaspi said it was her personal choice to support Robredo.
In a message to Rappler, Aksyon chairman Ernest Ramel said Legaspi asked permission from their party to support Robredo.
“Kaye personally asked permission from me to do so. Through me she has built a personal relationship with Mrs. Robredo when I was ‘unofficially’ doing political work for the VP for a time. She is still a member of the party albeit she went on leave,” Ramel said.
During the presser, Legaspi said their group chose the two female candidates due to their “galing at kalinga” (competence and compassion) and “tapang” (bravery). She said their movement is people-driven, compared to the RoSa, which is led by local politicians.
Legaspi added that more people are set to come out in the third week of April to show support for Robredo and Duterte. – With reports from Jairo Bolledo and Pia Ranada/ Rappler.com