One Cebu promises 1M votes for Duterte
CEBU CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Garcia-led One Cebu party is officially endorsing the candidacy of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
One Cebu's gubernatorial bet and former Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) chairman Winston Garcia promised his party would campaign to help deliver one million votes in Cebu for Duterte.
"We share the longing of the Bisaya population to finally have a Bisaya president after 60 years," Garcia told Rappler.
This endorsement ends speculation of who the 1,000-member local party would endorse.
One Cebu had previously endorsed Vice President Jejomar Binay and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) slate.
But on March 21, a day after the presidential debate in Cebu, Garcia announced they were cutting ties with Binay and UNA.
Garcia cited Binay and UNA's disregard for One Cebu when they would rally in the province and not inform or coordinate with the local party.
Former governor and incumbent Cebu 3rd District Representative Gwendolyn Garcia remains a member of UNA, however, and is still endorsing Binay.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is UNA's regional coordinator.
After One Cebu cut ties with UNA, reports surfaced that One Cebu would support candidate Grace Poe. But Garcia dismissed this in an interview with Rappler, calling it a "complete lie."
UNA president and Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco told Rappler that they respect One Cebu's decision.
"We just have to work harder in bringing our message direct to the people," Tiangco said Sunday.
'Kabahan na kayo'
This endorsement is the latest Duterte was able to get in the vote-rich province of 2.7 million voters.
Previously, Talisay City Mayor Johnny delos Reyes and Cordova Mayor Arleigh Sitoy – both members of the Liberal Party (LP) – endorsed Duterte's candidacy.
"Kabahan na kayo (You should be worried)," Duterte jokingly told his rivals after receiving the endorsement.
In 2004, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo won in Cebu by about a million votes, which was the margin she needed to beat her rival, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr.
"History will repeat itself," Garcia said.
In 2010, administration bet Gilbert Teodoro, however, lost in the province to LP bet Benigno Aquino III.
A majority of municipal and city mayors in Cebu, and the incumbent governor and vice governor, are members of the LP.
In the districts that are not LP bailiwicks, the Garcias and One Cebu or their allies are in power.
Duterte continues his campaign in Bohol on Sunday, April 3, and will appear in sorties in Ubay, Tagbilaran and Panglao. – Rappler.com
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