DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Apr) – Two political personalities from a powerful clan in Davao Oriental and a representative from Davao City’s first district have thrown their support to the presidential bid of Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday.
In a press conference at The Marco Polo here on Wednesday, Davao Oriental 2nd District Rep. Thelma Almario, son Vice Governor Joel Mayo Almario, and Davao City’s first district Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles declared their support to PDP-Laban’s Duterte, the lone presidential candidate from Mindanao.
The Almario matriarch, an outgoing congresswoman of three terms from 2007 until the present, was elected Mati mayor from 1967 to 1977, representative from 1987 to 1995, and vice governor from 2001 to 2004.
She said she is supporting Duterte, being the lone presidential candidate from Mindanao.
“It follows that all those from Mindanao will have their sympathy for the presidency of Duterte. All parties will understand that we, being from Mindanao, are supporting Duterte,” she said.
Thelma, a member of National People’s Coalition (NPC), is running for governor in the May 9 elections against incumbent 1st District Rep. Nelson Dayanghirang, a Liberal Party (LP) member.
Her running mate, human rights lawyer Paul Sango, is going against board member Niño Uy.
Meanwhile, Vice Gov. Joel Mayo Almario, who is running as representative in the 2nd District, is affiliated with LP but supporting Duterte. Almario is running against Delfin Miones, a board member of Davao Oriental.
Almario said that he made it clear to the higher officials of LP that he would support Duterte if the latter would run for the presidency. But Duterte filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) seeking reelection as mayor of Davao City on October 15, 2015.
But then Duterte withdrew his mayoral bid and filed his COC as a substitute presidential candidate for Martin Diño on November 27, 2015.
“I made it clear to LP higher-ups during the filing of COC that if Duterte will run for the presidency, he will have my support,” the vice governor said.
He said he is still a member of LP “unless I am expelled. I leave it to the Liberal Party.”
“They called me the other Tuesday and asked me to make a choice. I said I will be for Digong Duterte. I was very transparent to LP since day 1,” the younger Almario said.
The Almarios vowed that Duterte will get 95 percent support from the voters of Davao Oriental.
“We want to throw that victory by electing Duterte into presidency. We are very, very sure. We are friends with Duterte ever since… We never had a president from Mindanao. With Digong, finally we will have one,” Thelma said.
Nograles, a member of National Unity Party (NUP), added that many politicians from other parties are jumping ship because PDP-Laban’s standard bearer, who is leading in the recent surveys, has a growing number of supporters.
Nograles is now on his second term as Davao City’s first district representative and running unopposed.
“This is not only happening in Mindanao but also in Luzon and Visayas. We have talked to several politicians, even those from other political parties. The braver ones came out to the open while others are not outright but they are supporting Duterte,” he said.