One Cebu Drops Binay, Promises 1M Votes For Duterte

One Cebu Drops Binay, Promises 1M Votes For Duterte

One Cebu, the influential political party in the province of Cebu, officially endorses Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte for president.

In a statement released on Sunday, One Cebu gubernatorial bet Winston Garcia said the party will deliver one million votes for Duterte on May 9.

"Cebuanos would do for Duterte what it did [in] 2004," said the former Government Service Insurance System chairman.

Garcia was referring to the one million vote margin coming from Cebu that gave Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the presidency in the 2004 elections.

The province has the largest electorate in the country with 2.7 million voters.

"We share the longing of the Bisaya population to finally have a Bisaya president after 60 years," Garcia said in a report from Rappler.

Upon hearing about the endorsement, Duterte jokingly told the other candidates: "Kabahan na kayo (you should be worried)."

The decision to back the mayor's bid was reached after a closed-door meeting between Duterte and the Garcia-led party in Cebu City on Saturday night.

"I presented my programs to him and he was very supportive," Garcia told reporters after the meeting.

Dropping Binay

The 1,000-member local party had previously endorsed the presidency of Vice President Jejomar Binay and the whole slate of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

A day after the presidential debates held in Cebu City, however, Garcia announced they were cutting ties with Binay and UNA.

"After thorough deliberation, we in One Cebu are unanimous in our decision to break away from our alliance with UNA and presidential candidate Jejomar Binay," said Garcia in a statement on March 21.

Garcia added: "One Cebu entered into an alliance with UNA out of loyalty, but recent events showed that UNA did not appreciate nor reciprocate this loyalty.

During UNA's campaign rallies in Cebu, for instance, One Cebu members were not invited to participate.

In an interview with Rappler, Garcia said the dissolution of the month-old alliance was due to "a clash of priorities."

"The priority of UNA is to let Binay win. Our priority is also to let our candidates win. When we entered into a partnership, we thought it was a partnership that is mutually beneficial to both of us," Garcia told Rappler.

Binay dismissed the loss of One Cebu's support in a press conference on the same day, saying that "there are gains and there are losses."

Individual members of the influential local party, however, are still endorsing Binay, including former Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia and Cebu City mayor Michael Rama.

Rama is UNA's regional coordinator, while Gwendolyn is a member of UNA.

Liberal support

Duterte has also previously gotten the endorsement of municipal and city mayors in the province, particularly Liberal Party members Johnny delos Reyes of Talisay City and Arleigh Sitoy of Cordova.

Majority of municipal and city mayors, as well as the incumbent governor and vice governor, in the vote-rich province are LP members.

The rest of the districts are politically controlled by One Cebu and the influential Garcia clan.

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