Barug-KUSUG’s support for BBM divides coalition
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City’s Partido Barug, Kugi Uswag Sugbo (KUSUG), and Panaghiusa, maybe a formidable coalition for the local elections, but when it comes to their national bets, they are divided.
Mayor Michael Rama, the leader of Barug-PDP Laban and its standard-bearer as mayoral candidate, recently announced their official endorsement of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. as President and Davao City Sara Duterte as Vice President.
He represented Barug, the Garcia-led KUSUG, and MARINO Partylist, after convening the three groups for their official endorsement.
Councilor Raymond Garcia, the leader of KUSUG and who is running for vice mayor in tandem with Rama, also expressed support for the coalition’s decision as he sat beside Rama during the announcement.
Yet particularly absent in the press conference were members of the Daluz-led Panaghiusa Party, the third member of the coalition.
In an interview with CDN Digital, Lawyer Jose Daluz, III, the president of Panaghiusa and the current chairperson of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), said that it is impossible for their party to endorse “BBM.”
He said that the party was founded by his mother, Nenita Cortes-Daluz, the late Congressman Antonio Cuenco, and other anti-Martial Law leaders in the 1980s.
They fought for the abolishment of the Martial Law and even though they have passed away, Daluz is determined to keep the spirit of the party alive with the rebirth of Panaghiusa this election.
“As to the vice president, we already declared our support for Sara Duterte. As to the President, the party has not yet officially issued a statement of support for a President. Personally, I support Isko Moreno (Domagoso), but the party is yet to support a President.”
“Panaghiusa cannot endorse BBM. Panaghiusa was born during the fight against dictatorship and we will continue to fight for democracy, justice, atong mga victims sa Martial Law. Among direction will always be that, said Daluz.
Although he has no personal issues with BBM, Daluz said he also cannot endorse him as a matter of conscience because he does not see the qualities of a President that Filipinos need in BBM.
For Daluz, BBM has a lot of pieces of baggage left being a son of a dictator but also has not proved or singled himself out to deserve the votes of Cebuanos.
Still, Panaghiusa will respect Barug and KUSUG’s choice of presidential bets as they support the same vice-presidential candidate, Sara Duterte, anyway.
Despite the differences, Daluz assured that the relationship between the parties are still amicable. Panaghiusa will support the candidacy of Rama and Garcia and the entire slate of Barug, PDP Laban.
However, they will also be rooting for their own councilorial candidates, Simeon Romarate and Gikom Crystal.
Same party different presidents
The endorsement of Marcos Jr. did not only affect the coalition but has placed a member of Partido Barug-PDP Laban in a tight situation.
Councilor James Cuenco, who is seeking a council seat in the South District, is the son of late Congressman Antonio Cuenco, whose contributions to the fight against the Martial Law have been renowned.
Councilor James is currently a member of Barug-PDP Laban and by party affiliation, should be endorsing Marcos Jr. as President.
However, Councilor James said that he cannot in good conscience vote for Marcos Jr. in the next elections as he remembers the struggles of his own father during the Martial Law era.
He has decided to respect the party’s decision while maintaining his individual preference not to endorse Marcos Jr. in the coming polls.
“The party respects our individual decisions. If I am not at ease with the decision, I will keep silent. I don’t have to openly campaign. As an individual candidate, I will not endorse. It’s a preference of conscience,” said Councilor. Cuenco.
Still, he will also not campaign against Marcos Jr., as a sign of respect to his party, nor will he openly endorse another candidate. /rcg
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