EXPLAINER: BOPK, Bakud, Barug unveil choices for president. And then there's One Cebu keeping the suspense. Endorsements split in 3 local parties

·5 min read

KEY POINTS. [1] In Cebu City, ruling party Barug endorses Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte-Carpio but the support doesn't include that from its two coalesced groups: Kusug and Panaghiusa. Minority BOPK endorses Leni Robredo but carries Tito Sotto for VP, dumping Leni's VP Kiko Pangilinan.

In Cebu province, minority party Bakud endorses the BBM-Sara tandem. But Bakud's bet for vice governor, Junjun Davide, backs Leni Robredo.

[2] That leaves only One Cebu Party, which rules the province, still to announce its official choice. Party leaders lean heavily towards the BBM-Sara slate but it's not sure if all will support Marcos.

THE DECLARANTS. [] On November 23, 2021, BOPK (Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan) -- through its chief, former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña -- announced local party support for Vice President Leni Robredo for president in the May elections. Later, it specified that it is supporting Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto for vice president, not Leni's running mate Senator Francis "Kiko" Panglinan.

[] Tuesday, January 25, Bakud (Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya), local party of the Durano clan in Cebu's fifth district, through Bakud chairman emeritus Danao City Mayor Ramon "Nito" Durano III, announced its support for the Bongbong Marcos-Sara Duterte-Carpio tandem, citing Bongbong as a "staunch ally" and a friend of four decades.

[] The day after Bakud's endorsement -- on Wednesday, January 26 -- Partido Barug chief Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, announced that it supports the BBM-Sara team. As the local party of PDP-Laban, President Rodrigo Duterte's Party, Barug, through the mayor, earlier said it would endorse whomever the president would anoint as his "successor."

THE HOLDOUT. That would leave One Cebu Party in Cebu that was still to announce, as of this news feed, its choice for president and VP. One Cebu is the ruling party in the province, to which Governor Gwendolyn Carcia, Representative Pablo John Garcia of the third district, and Liloan, Cebu Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco and most of the province mayors and House legislators belong to or are allied with.

One Cebu Party, through Governor Gwen said -- just after the November 25, 2021 deadline for substitution of candidates -- it wouldn't announce yet its choice, saying the situation in Manila was "still fluid." A One Cebu convention was supposed to have been called for last December 16 but Typhoon Odette struck the province and cities of Cebu and overhauled priorities of local government leaders.

REASONS FOR CHOICE. Tomas Osmeña said BOPK picked Robredo because the party "aligns with her goals and services." He cited the VP "agreeing" to petition the Comelec for the creation of special precincts in the city where 10,000 call center agents can vote away from home.

Mayor Nito Durano said "friendship beyond politics" was one of the reasons for their decision. He said Bongbong is a good person and they've been friends for 40 years. He'll be "a healing president," the mayor said.

Mayor Mike Rama said they've long been expressing support for the president's daughter Sara but decided to pick Bongbong during "a consultation meeting" with some party members and national personalities. Rama didn't specify the date and place of meeting and the names of personalities, repeatedly saying "needless to name." (He did name in Wednesday's press-con one national politico: Senator Bong Go.) Rama has been saying Barug is with the administration and follows Duterte and PDP-Laban.

Those were the official reasons. Not discussed publicly was the top reason, namely, which alliance to a national party would benefit most the local party and its leaders: Who can help the local party's candidates? Which national candidates have the bigger chance of capturing Malacañang to be the future benefactors of the local leaders?

AND ONE CEBU'S CHOICE IS... Based on recent developments, political watchers can project, or speculate, that One Cebu Party will pick Sara as choice for vice president. There appears to be no negative sentiment for the president's daughter and Davao City mayor. What Cebuanos have seen were photos of the governor and daughter Mayor Christina being together in meetings and celebrations (one photo had Sara raising Guv Gwen's hand in endorsement). Mayor Christina is even the spokesperson of the VP bet.

One Cebu Party most likely will announce Sara as its choice. And also most probably, it will be Bongbong for president. Lack of enthusiasm for BBM in One Cebu has been perceived so far only from Congressman PJ, One Cebu's secretary general. Possibly, a veteran broadcaster said, the party will officially endorse the BBM-Sara tandem but allow the congressman to have his own VP bet.

SPLIT ENDORSEMENTS. Guv Gwen's party has been saying the party strives for a single, unified endorsement on national candidates but that may not happen if Congressman PJ won't accept Bongbong.

But that isn't happening in One Cebu alone, in fact in all the three local parties that announced its national slate.

In Bakud, the party and Ace Durano, its candidate for governor against Gwen, supports BBM while his running mate backs Leni Robredo for president.

BOPK endorses Leni for the top post but casts aside Robredo's running mate Kiko Pangilinan in favor of Senator Panfilo Lacson's VP, Tito Sotto.

Barug is officially for the BBM-Sara tandem but the two other parties in the city's ruling coalition don't have anything to do with it. Kusug of the Garcias (Councilor Raymond Alvin and former mayor Alvin) and Partido Panaghiusa of former councilor and MCWD chairman Jose Daluz III were not mentioned by Mayor Rama in the endorsement for BBM-Sara duo. It's only Barug "with PDP-Laban and partylist Marino." Daluz said it cannot support Marcos whom his late mom Inday Nita Cortes-Daluz fought against, with the party she organized and Joey just revived.

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