By LITO RULONA and NITZ ARANCON
ONE of the top candidates of the Centrist Democratic Party (CDP) in the city yesterday said the group is expecting a boost in its campaign to win political control of the city with its decision to support the presidential bid of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“The decision is strategic,” said Councilor Roger Abaday, CDP’s vice mayoral candidate.
Abaday said the CDP is expecting to politically benefit from its endorsement of Duterte, noting that the Davao mayor has a strong following in the city.
He said a recent survey showed that Duterte could command as much as 70 percent of the votes in Cagayan de Oro, and such degree of popularity could bring in more votes for mayoral candidate Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and other CDP candidates in the city.
Rodriguez, CDP’s leader, announced over the weekend that his party has chosen Duterte as its presidential candidate via secret balloting. He said CDP’s 19 candidates and 23 district leaders here took part in the secret balloting.
Rodriguez said 26 voted for Duterte, five for former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II, five for Sen. Grace Poe, two for Vice President Jejomar Binay and none for Sen. Miriam Santiago.
But in an interview with Abaday yesterday afternoon, he said Duterte was the choice during the meeting of the Rodriguez siblings.
“They met, agreed that it’s going to be Duterte,” Abaday said.
Rodriguez said the CDP decided to endorse Duterte because the Davao mayor has provided a chance for Mindanao to produce a president, and because the presidential candidate is a federalism advocate.
Rodriguez said the CDP was also convinced that a Duterte administration could end corruption, and wipe out illegal drugs and other forms in criminality in the country within six months.
Meanwhile, the CDP and the administration Liberal Party formally started campaigning for local seats with much fanfare yesterday.
Another group, the Padayon Pilipino, opted to start with a relatively low-profile campaign.
The CDP held its proclamation rally at the Acsat Gym in Barangay Carmen after an afternoon mass at the San Antonio Church in Barangay Nazareth. At the gym, Rodriguez openly declared Duterte as CDP’s top bet.
Last night, Mayor Oscar Moreno led administration Liberal Party candidates in a proclamation rally in Divisoria. The administration candidates heard mass at the St. Augustine Cathedral before launching their campaign with an afternoon motorcade in the city’s two districts.
The third group, Padayon Pilipino, staged two rallies last night–one at Bongbongon in Barangay Kauswagan and the other at Zone 6 in Barangay Agusan.
Councilor Alexander Dacer said Padayon Pilipino leader ex-mayor Vicente Emano, opted not to have a proclamation rally.
“Kanang proclamation rally, maayo man lang kana sa daghan ug kuwarta,” Dacer said.
Dacer said Emano also opted not to lead Padayon Pilipino candidates in hearing mass unlike the other parties.
“Kana sila (Moreno and Rodriguez) hadlok na sila nga dili moto-o ang Gino-o nila, mao na nga nagpa-misa da-an sa wala pa ang ilang rally kay nagpatabang sa Gino-o, kay hadlok na sila mapilde,” said Dacer. (with reports from herbie gomez)