Rough Cuts: Where elections in Davao Region could be exciting.
And the first to suffer from the negative effect of the electoral set-up is the very party that was President Rodrigo Duterte's vehicle to the Presidency during the 2016 national elections. Had the two-party system existed until today the entire senatorial slate of the PDP-Laban would have the full endorsement of the President. But it is not happening now.
Last Wednesday President Duterte did not have any qualms in mentioning the names of those he is endorsing to the electorate. While there were names of filers who have PDP-Laban as their party, many of the names mentioned were those of members of the pro-administration coalition in the Senate and the House of Representatives. A northern Luzon provincial governor who claims being "adopted" by a regional party identified supportive of the President is one of those the President is endorsing.
We can only imagine the feeling of the legitimate leaders of the PDP-Laban on its ex-officio chair's selected endorsees.
But we are trying our best to reconcile the President's decision with the present crack of the said party. Maybe it is his way of not alienating leaders of the now factionalized PDP-Laban.
After all, President Duterte knows those who are in the other side of his party are all his supporters during the 2016 polls and possibly until today.
The question now is how the PDP-Laban-inclined electorate will interpret the President's endorsement. A win by the President's endorsees may leave a bad taste in the mouths of those dyed-in-the-wall original party leaders and supporters.
Where then would this probably lead the PDP-Laban to?
The elections this coming May 2019, we are certain, will be an acid test to the political leadership of the Floirendos and Del Rosarios in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley Provinces.
And why are we saying this? Let us take into consideration the fact that the elections this May will be pitting for the first time the Floirendo-led political group against another well-oiled and structurally sound pro-Duterte faction led by former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. The latter is now backed up by another strong and financially stable Uy family who has clout over Tagum City and ComVal Province. Alvarez's group has added in its roster the incumbent mayor of Tagum City Allan Rellon.
The formidability of the opposition group to the Floirendos was seen during the birthday celebration of the former Speaker over a week ago. According to sources we had who were actually eye-witnesses to the gathering, the affair was a "who is who," "who are with whom," and "who they prefer to serve with" after the midterm polls.
Of course we have to live with the fact that presence in affairs does not guarantee actual support; money does.
In Davao del Sur, the May elections will be as exciting, even heated, as that of Davao del Norte and ComVal Provinces.
But it is more a direct confrontation of politicians who are now serving the local government units in the province.
The present tenant of the Davao del Sur Provincial Capitol who is running for re-election is still considered formidable as he has the organization, the clout, and the money. But his opponent is also equally well-heeled. And he has a solid base in the capital city of Digos.
So, we believe that the winner in the gubernatorial polls in that southern Davao Province will be determined by the ability of both candidates to influence voters in the political base of each. That is, the Province and the City of Digos.