The Manila Times : Gubernatorial rivals back BBM-Sara

20 February 2022

By Catherine S. Valente | The Manila Times

Opposing candidates for the gubernatorial seat in Pangasinan province have temporarily set aside local politics and party affiliations to support the candidacy of presidential hopeful Ferdinand "Bong" Marcos Jr. and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for the May 2022 elections.

Reelectionist Gov. Amado Espino 3rd and his rival Ramon Guico both endorsed the tandem during Duterte-Carpio's visit to the province on Saturday, further consolidating support for the UniTeam candidates in the Solid North.

"Very loyal naman po tayo at the same time kay Presidente [Rodrigo Duterte], siyempre 'yung programa ng ating President malamang itutuloy rin naman…ng ating mahal na magiging vice president Sara (We're very loyal to President Duterte. For sure, his programs will be continued by our soon-to-be vice president)," said Espino, member of the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.

Espino was joined by Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil of the National Unity Party in welcoming Duterte-Carpio to the province.

He also assured the support of Pangasinan — the southernmost province in the Ilocos Region where Marcos came from — for the presidential candidate.

Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Duterte, is vying for the vice presidential seat under the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party, while Marcos is running under the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.

For his part, Guico said he is confident that Marcos and Duterte-Carpio will win via landslide in the province.

"Regardless of political colors, I think Pangasinan is united for BBM-Sara," said Guico, a member of the Nacionalista Party.

"Pangasinan has almost 2 million voters, so a lot of our allies have command votes in their respective municipalities and cities. Kaya (That's why) I'm sure we can deliver a lot for Team UniTeam, kina (for) BBM at (and) Sara," he added.

Meanwhile, Pangasinan Fourth District Rep. Christopher de Venecia vowed to deliver votes for the Marcos-Duterte tandem.

De Venecia is also a member of the Lakas-CMD, a party closely identified with his father, former House speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.

"What we have to ensure bilang ako ay isang kapartido ni Ma'am Inday Sara Duterte, at siya ang aming standard-bearer, na dapat at makapag-deliver din ang Pangasinan kay ma'am Inday (as a partymate of Ma'am Inday Sara Duterte, as she is our standard-bearer, is to deliver votes from Pangasinan for her)," said de Venecia, chairman of the House Committee on Creative Industry and Performing Arts.

"So, 'yan ang i-eensure natin, ang kakaririn natin (I will ensure that, and make a career out of it)," he added.

The younger de Venecia said he feels "very honored" to have the mayor as party chairman.

"Talagang namamangha tayo sa kanya, especially napaka-magaling na mayor ng Davao (We're really impressed with her, being a great mayor of Davao)," he said.

As for Marcos, de Venecia believes that vote-rich Pangasinan — which has an estimated 2 million registered voters — will back him just like it did in 2016 when he sought the vice presidency.

"Very clear that Pangasinan is the third most vote-rich province in the Philippines and Pangasinan is in Region 1 (Ilocos Region), so maituturing itong parang parte ng tinatawag na 'Solid North' (so it can be considered as part of 'Solid North')," de Venecia said.

"Nung 2016 talagang napakalaki ng lamang ni former senator Bongbong Marcos sa Pangasinan (In 2016, former senator Bongbong Marcos had a huge lead in Pangasinan) even in my district sa (in the) fourth district ng (of) Pangasinan," he added.

Aside from de Venecia, former Pangasinan Third District Rep. Rachel Arenas also joined his party mates in supporting Duterte-Carpio's candidacy.

"I'm very happy to say that for our vice president, Inday Sara Duterte, Pangasinan is united for her. Natutuwa po ako (I'm happy) to see all parties gathering together to support Mayor Inday Sara. And I'm proud to be here, not just as a supporter but as a friend of Inday Sara Duterte," said Arenas, who is also a Lakas-CMD stalwart.