‘NO’ TO BINAY IN DURANO COUNTRY
TommyO calls One Cebu-UNA alliance ‘comedy of errors’
Vice President Jejomar Binay is not in the equation in the Durano country and local Liberal Party leaders belittled the growing support for the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer in Cebu.
The Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya (Bakud) party of the Duranos in the fifth district still has to decide whom to back for president but it will not be Binay, said Danao City Vice Mayor Ramon “Red” Durano VI, Bakud’s president.
Bakud will decide “in due time” who among Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas, Sen. Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte they would carry in the May derby, he said.
“It’s really mixed emotions among our members kung kinsa gyud among pili-on (who we will actually choose). Mao nga (That’s why) we are having a difficult time deciding who to support,” Durano told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview.
The fifth district, with an estimated voting population of 400,000, comprises the city of Danao; the mainland towns of Liloan, Compostela, Carmen, Catmon, Sogod and Borbon; and Poro, Tudela, San Francisco and Pilar towns on Camotes Islands.
Durano said their barangay officials preferred Roxas because of the help they received from him when he was still secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government but most city and town officials backed Duterte “because aside from being a relative of the mayor (Ramon “Nito” Durano III), they can relate with him.”
Durano said the alliance of his brother Rep. Joseph “Ace” Durano with Poe was another consideration. Ace is Poe’s campaign manager.
But for Ace, Bakud was already committed to support Poe and her running-mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
“I would not have accepted (the offer to be their campaign manager) ug wala sad nitugot ang leaders sa partido. It goes without saying nga ilang gi suportahan akong move. Sama sa ilang gi-suportahan si Grace Poe (I would not have accepted the offer without the go signal of the leaders of the party. It goes without saying that they support my move. Just like how they have decided to support Grace Poe),” he said.
Candidates for national posts have long been wooing Cebu’s political leaders for support, given Cebu’s rich voting population of about 2.7 million.
Binay earlier strengthened his hold in Cebu with the support coming from One Cebu, the main political opposition in the province led by the party’s gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia, and from suspended Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, a reelectionist and UNA Cebu coordinator.
With One Cebu’s help, Binay is now assured of votes from the second, third and fourth districts of Cebu, said Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña, another Binay supporter.
‘COMEDY OF ERRORS’
But former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, John Henry’s cousin, said the alliances that Binay has formed with the opposition here were like a “comedy of errors.”
“What can Winston do for Binay? What can Binay do for Winston?” commented former mayor Osmeña.
“The more they come together, the more negativity that they will get,” Osmeña added.
He said that since both Garcia and Binay have their shares of unresolved graft-related controversies, their alliance would only further discourage Cebuanos from voting for them.
Osmeña said he could only suspect that the sole reason why Garcia and Rama backed Binay was because they needed him to fund their campaigns.
“Winston needs a lot (of money) because he is weak. He does not even have a complete lineup in the province,” said Osmeña.
Osmena said LP has been quietly working to solidify its presence in Cebu city and province and he was confident they would be able to deliver votes for Roxas and his running-mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
In the province, the LP alignment is very clear. “We have leaders more than the other side,” he added.
Osmeña said that getting the fifth district’s support would be an added boost to ensure Roxas’ victory in Cebu, but it would be up to Gov. Hilario Davide III to win Bakud’s support.
Bakud has committed to support the reelection bid of Davide and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, a member of the Durano clan.
Davide was also confident of an LP win in Cebu despite the UNA-One Cebu alliance.
LP is “strong” in the province and in Cebu City and “we hope to deliver votes for our presidential and vice-presidential candidates,” Davide, the LP Cebu chairman, said in a press conference yesterday.
Davide said the statement of Toledo City Mayor Osmeña that Binay was assured of votes in the One Cebu-dominated districts was just the mayor’s opinion.
“Even the LP is strong in Toledo City,” he said.
Davide said he was also confident that the LP team in the new seventh district could deliver the votes for Roxas and Robredo. LP has Provincial Board Members Peter Calderon and Christopher Baricuatro running for the congressional and provincial board seats, respectively, in the new district.
He said LP planned to hold a “major event” for Roxas, Robredo and their senatorial ticket in Cebu on Feb. 9, the start of the campaign period for national candidates.
UNA and One Cebu also planned a huge gathering of supporters for Binay in Cebu on Feb. 8 and 9, Rama said.
Rama would not give details of the activities set for Binay’s visit here, except to say “it will really be huge.”
He said that while there was no formal alliance between UNA and One Cebu, the decision of One Cebu to support Binay created a political infrastructure for the Vice President in Cebu.
“I am very happy. I am the most, shall we say, I am the happiest political figure in UNA in the regions of Visayas, Region 7 in particular. And Cebu is special because with us together, we can be more concrete that for the whole Cebu, UNA has a structure,” he said.
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