Malilong: A Durano-Davide ticket in the province?

IS IT going to be Vice Mayor Mike Rama? Or will MCWD chairman Joey Daluz spring a surprise and challenge Rama to a convention to determine the Barug PDP-Laban standard bearer in Cebu City in next year’s elections?

The challenge can happen only if Rama has not yet secured the endorsement of President Duterte and his daughter and heir apparent Sara Duterte. The Cebu City vice mayor has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about the results of his separate conversations with the Dutertes and it is fuelling speculations that while some promises may have been made, he has not gotten their nod yet.

Or maybe Rama is just playing it coy because he is worried about being targeted for demolition early. The problem with that stance, however, is that it allows other wannabes to organize and persuade Malacañang that they are the more viable candidate, the one who can deliver victory for the national ticket next year.

Rama already shelved his plan to run for mayor once because he was persuaded to value his party’s victory over his personal ambition. I do not think he will still be as accommodating this time. He will run for mayor under any circumstances. Maybe, this is the ace that he is holding: the threat of two candidates from the same camp vying against the BOPK bet if he is not made the anointed one.

Meanwhile, in the province, an entirely different problem faces the opposition: Who will they field against Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia?

Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III would have been the logical choice to lead the opposition ticket but as early as in December last year, he already advised his party mates to look for another candidate as he wanted to return to private life. He was “tired” and “frustrated,” he said.

There is, however, a mounting clamor for the vice governor to run for reelection in tandem with former Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, who is said to be seriously considering a run for the governorship. There have been preliminary talks between the two, with Durano reportedly asking Davide to keep an open mind.

But Davide remained unpersuaded even if a private survey showed that he was the most favored by voters among probable candidates for vice governor. (Garcia was a clear favorite for governor in the same survey.)

Davide, however, promised that he will join Durano in the campaign trail even if he is not himself a candidate.

Durano would be a good choice for the opposition. Not only is he prepared, he also has the capacity to wage a serious province-wide campaign. And the Duranos still have a bailiwick in Danao City even if they suffered an upset defeat in the fifth district in 2019. A cousin, Peter Calderon, is the incumbent representative of the 7th district.

It’s going to be an uphill battle for him, though. Practically all the mayors in the province openly support the governor and the few ones in the south who remain sympathetic to Davide are lying low for fear that their towns might not get projects and assistance.

There is no doubt that Durano’s chances of scoring an upset over Garcia will be tremendously boosted by a Davide partnership. They should therefore try harder to convince him to reconsider his decision to abandon the stressful life of a politician.