Cebu Governor Hilario “Junjun” Davide III believes that the presidential race is going to be a close fight between Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel “Mar Roxas III and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Governor Davide made this assessment saying that Duterte may give Roxas the toughest fight among the presidential aspirants in the vote-rich province of Cebu, pointing to the Davo City mayor’s ability to speak in Cebuano.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Davide said: “Our assessment would be Duterte because he is Cebuano-speaking and voters tend to identify with the one who speaks their language.”
“I think it will be a tight race between Mar and Duterte,” he added.
Davide, who is a Roxas ally, vowed to do his best to ensure the administrations victory in the province.
“I can’t promise but we will try our best to ensure his [Roxas’] victory here,” he said.
Cebu has about 2.7 million registered voters, making it the province with the biggest number of voters in the Philippines. In the past national elections, Cebu proved to be a game-changer and candidates have consistently sought the support of the Cebuanos.
On April 4, the Garcia-led One Cebu party threw its support to Duterte after it withdrew its support for VICE President Jejomar Binay.
Winston Garcia, who is going head-to-head with Davide for the gubernatorial post, said in a statement: “Cebuanos would do for Duterte what it did in 2004.” He referred to the 1-million vote margin Gloria Macapagal Arroyo got from the province that made her win the presidency in 2004.
Governor Garcia dismissed this claim by One Cebu, saying: “That’s impossible.”
Mar Roxas visited the province again and went around campaigning in a market, reminiscent of the “Mr. Palengke” image for which he was known when he once ran for the Senate. He then met with barangay leaders and beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).