BACOLOD CITY: In Negros Occidental, it's going to be a two-way battle for the presidency between Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo and former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., former Murcia mayor Sonny Coscolluela, provincial spokesman of the UniTeam, said on Monday.
He, however, hinted that Marcos will prevail in the presidential polls.
"I am not a prophet to really predict, but if the figures are to be understood, it is very hard to stop BBM, he'll be the next president," he said, referring to the survey results where Marcos is leading.
Coscolluela said the May 9 elections "is where we separate and determine the real mayor — leaders in our towns and cities."
Coscolluela cited the result of 2016 national elections where former senator Manuel "Mar" 2nd Roxas and Robredo won in Negros with the support of 29 out of the 31 mayors.
"Now it is the opposite. A total of 28 mayors have signed and committed to support the BBM-Sara tandem. So, their leadership will be tested vis-a-vis the civil society," he pointed out.
The civil society is led by former governor Rafael Coscolluela, who is also a relative of the former Murcia mayor.
"But we respect each other," he stressed.
Asked if the 28 mayors can deliver votes, he replied, "I think their leadership is at stake. If the figures are to be understood, referring to the results of the survey, it is very hard to stop BBM. He'll be the next president."
"And if you're a mayor, it behooves you to go for BBM," Coscolluela said.
If Marcos wins big in your town or city, it is easy to access national funding, Coscolluela said, adding that during the presidency of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, she won big in Murcia.
Asked to comment on the declaration of organizers of the Robredo campaign that Negros Occidental and Bacolod City is "pink country", Coscolluela said "everybody is free to make their claims because this is a free country."
"Rallies and caravans do not make up your votes," he said.
He congratulated the organizers of the grand rally of Robredo and her running mate Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan.
He also congratulated Marcos' supporters after they distributed snacks to rallygoers last Friday.
"They heeded my call to refrain from anything unruly," he said.
The former mayor also said he is appealing to all candidates and their supporters for this election to be "peaceful and respectable."
"At the end of the day, we are all brothers and sisters, relatives and friends," he said.
Negros Occidental has a population of 2,623,172.
The province including its capital Bacolod City has 1,946,639 registered voters for the 2022 polls.
This is an increase of 57,439 voters from the 1,889,200 in the May 2019 national elections.