Marcos allies in Mindanao unfazed by RoSa launch and Alvarez’ endorsement of Leni

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews /25 March) – South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo is confident that presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will maintain his lead in Mindanao despite Monday’s launching in Cagayan de Oro of RoSa Mindanao for the tandem Leni Robredo for President and Sara Duterte for Vice President and despite Robredo’s endorsement by former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and his Partido Reporma on Thursday. 

“I’m confident enough that his rating in Mindanao will not go down,” Tamayo told MindaNews Monday night after RoSa Mindanao’s launch. Tamayo heads the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas which nominated Marcos as its Presidential bet. On Thursday, Tamayo said he was confident the move of Alvarez won’t reduce the numbers of Marcos in Mindanao. 

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda, Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco and Cagayan de Oro 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez declared their support for RoSa in a press conference at the Mallberry Suites in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday afternoon. 

Aside from RoSa, there are, in other parts of Mindanao, supporters for an IsSa (Ishko Moreno-Sara Duterte) tandem. 

Rep. Joey Saceda (2nd district, Albay, white shirt), Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, and Rep. Rufus Rodriguez ( 2nd district, Cagayan de Oro) launched the ROSA movement adopting Vice President Leni Robredo for president and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for vice president during a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday, 21 March 2022. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Asked during a press conference in Tagum City Thursday on the RoSa tandem, Robredo said: “Klaro naman from the very start, from the very start until now, until the very end, ang Vice President ko si Kiko Pangilinan.”

She said now and in previous elections, there are always supporters who push for other combinations but stressed that her Vice President is Pangilinan. 

In a videotaped message, Mayor Duterte said she is aware that many want to see her with another presidential candidate and she takes that “as a sign of confidence in me as a leader .. but I am a person, a woman, a leader who values commitment and word of honor. I am running for the position of Vice President and my President is BongBong Marcos.”

Endorsement from President’s party 

On Monday night, Marcos supporters were given a boost by the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP-Laban) Cusi wing chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, which passed Resolution 26 endorsing Marcos as its presidential bet. The resolution said Marcos is the candidate “whose platform is most aligned with the development program” of President Duterte, that his “vision of governance is most aligned with PDP-Laban’s 11-point agenda,” that the party had earlier endorsed Mayor Duterte as its Vice President, and that endorsing Marcos would “promote ‘unity for sustainability’ of socio-economic development and national progress.”

President Duterte had earlier repeatedly described Marcos as a “weak leader.”  

On Thursday, Acting Presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar confirmed that, indeed, Duterte met with Marcos a few days ago and “shared his experience and insight as an outgoing chief executive. Duterte’s term ends on June 30, 2022. 

The resolution endorsing Marcos was signed by 13 members of its National Executive Committee, including the President’s long-time aide, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.  But party Vice President for the Visayas, Ben Evardone, did not sign the resolution. He had earlier endorsed Robredo for President. 

The resolution also said Marcos “received the most endorsements” from local councils of PDP-Laban and listed endorsements from 20 provinces and 10 cities. 

On Monday night, Marcos supporters were given a boost by the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP-Laban) Cusi wing chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, which passed Resolution 26 endorsing Marcos as its presidential bet. The resolution said Marcos is the candidate “whose platform is most aligned with the development program” of President Duterte, that his “vision of governance is most aligned with PDP-Laban’s 11-point agenda,” that the party had earlier endorsed Mayor Duterte as its Vice President, and that endorsing Marcos would “promote ‘unity for sustainability’ of socio-economic development and national progress.”

President Duterte had earlier repeatedly described Marcos as a “weak leader.”

Former Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., and Mayor Sara Duterte in Tagum City on November 21, 2021. Photo from Mayor Inday Sara Duterte official Facebook page

The resolution endorsing Marcos was signed by 13 members of its National Executive Committee, including the President’s long-time aide, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.  But party Vice President for the Visayas, Ben Evardone, did not sign the resolution. He had earlier endorsed Robredo for President. 

The resolution also said Marcos “received the most endorsements” from local councils of PDP-Laban and listed endorsements from 20 provinces and 10 cities. 

The Philippines has 81 provinces and 146 cities. 

Three of the 20 provincial endorsements came from Mindanao: Zamboanga del Sur, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato. None of the 10 city endorsements came from Mindanao.

Mindanao has 27 provinces and 33 cities. Its registered voters, according to the Commission on Elections as of December 23, 2021 is 15.5 million or 23.5% of the nationwide total of 65.7 million.

MindaNews asked Climaco and Tamayo how many incumbent officials in Mindanao, aside from them and Rodriguez, have endorsed RoSa and Marcos-Duterte, respectively, but they have yet to respond. 

Senator Aquilino Pimentel, chair of the “original PDP Laban” founded by his father, the late Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel of Cagayan de Oro City, said the endorsement of Marcos by the Cusi wing merely “manifested that they are total strangers to PDP LABAN. They don’t even acknowledge that PDP LABAN was established to oppose the Marcos dictatorship.”

“Time for Comelec to dismiss the petition of these usurpers,” Pimentel, said. He noted that in Germany, for example, “a political party formed to oppose Adolf Hitler will definitely not support an Adolf Hitler Jr. Logic lang yan. Consistent with the PDP LABAN history, struggles, deaths, and party constitution!”

Top choice

Marcos is the frontrunner in the Presidential race among 10 candidates while Duterte is the frontrunner in the Vice Presidential race. 

According to Pulse Asia, Marcos would have been elected as the next President of the Philippines if elections were held during the survey dates on February 18 to 23 as it noted the 60% nationwide support for the former senator across all geographic areas and socio-economic groupings. 

Nationwide, according to the survey, Marcos was the preferred candidate of 60% of the country’s registered voters but he got his highest percentage support in Mindanao (68%) compared with the National Capital Region (NCR) at 66%, the Balance of Luzon (BL)  at 58%, Visayas at 53% and Class C at 60%, D at 61% and E at 58%. 

Robredo on the other hand got the support of 15% of the country’s registered voters, with 18% in the NCR, 16% in BL, 19% in the Visayas,  5% in Mindanao, 17% in Class C, 14% in Class D and 13% in Class E. 

Pulse Asia survey, 18-23 February 2022.

First stop in Mindanao 

The February survey was conducted on February 18 to 23. The Robredo tandem’s first sortie in Mindanao since the official campaign period for national candidates started on February 8 was in Northern Mindanao, on February 22 and 23. 

Marcos has not visited any of Mindanao’s 27 provinces and 33 cities since February 8.  

Tamayo said Marcos’ first stop in Mindanao will be in Koronadal City on Sunday, March 27. 

The PFP nominated Marcos as its Presidential candidate during its national convention in Tupi, South Cotabato in September last year. Marcos took his oath as member and chair of the party on October 5 with Tamayo administering his oath. 

South Cotabato is part of Region 12 or what is popularly referred to as Soccsksargen, along with the provinces of Sarangani, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat. Marcos won in Region 12 in 2016. 

Sarangani is the home province of Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao, who is also running for President. 

Mindanao sorties

Robredo and running mate Senator Francis Pangilinan have barnstormed almost weekly in Mindanao since the third week of February –  in Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), Caraga region, Region 12 (Soccksargen), Cotabato City and Basilan in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in Region 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) and parts of Region 11 (Davao) this week. 

In 2016, Robredo won in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Tawi-tawi in what was then the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but lost big to Marcos in Sulu. 

In the 2015 to 2016 surveys, Marcos was ahead of Robredo in the vice presidential race.  

In the December 4-11, 2015 survey, voter preference nationwide for Marcos was 23%. Marcos was the preferred candidate in Luzon and Mindanao but not in Visayas. Marcos was the choice of 28% in NCR against Robredo’s 9%;  36% in Balance of Luzon against Robredo’s 14%; 19% in Mindanao against Robredo’s 10% but in Visayas, Marcos was the choice of 17% against Robredo’s 21%. 

In the April 12-17, 2016 survey, Marcos was choice for Vice President of 29% nationwide. He was the choice in Luzon (43% in NCR against Robredo’s 18%, 36% in BL against Robredo’s 19%), but not in Visayas and Mindanao (20% in Visayas against Robredo’s 35% and 19% in Mindanao against Robredo’s 23%). 

Robredo won as Vice President, a victory Marcos contested all the way to the Supreme Court but lost. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)