MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:42 p.m.) — One Cebu Party, an affiliate of administration PDP-Laban party, is endorsing presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. in the May elections, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia announced.
In a statement to media and first reported by Rappler, Garcia, who is party president, said the decision to endorse Marcos "follows weeks of extensive consultations and discussions with provincial, municipal and barangay leaders" across the province.
One Cebu and the UniTeam — a coalition of political parties led by Partido Federal ng Pilipinas and Lakas-CMD — on Monday afternoon entered into an alliance called One Cebu UniTeam and agreed to work together for the May elections.
According to a release by the UniTeam campaign, UniTeam will, in turn, "give their full and unqualified support for ONE CEBU’s candidates for governor, Gwendolyn F. Garcia, vice governor Dr. Maria Theresa V. Heyrosa, and all candidates in Cebu under the banner of One Cebu as well as candidates that are allied with One Cebu."
UniTeam also signed an agreement for a "One Cebu Island UniTeam Alliance" with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, and Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas.
With 3,288,778 registered voters, Cebu is the most vote-rich province in the Philippines.
Garcia said in her announcement that "ultimately, the interests of the Cebuanos are best served if we unite behind the leadership of BBM as president and, as we have earlier announced, Mayor Sara Duterte as vice president."
In a related development, Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd District) stepped down as the One Cebu's secretary general, saying he could not support Marcos because of a previous commitment to support Manila Maor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, who is also running for president.
"From the start, I have been clear and consistent about my support for Mayor Isko Moreno's candidacy for president, believing that he is, among the many choices, the most capable and best prepared to lead the country out of this many-pronged crisis that it now faces, and into the future," he said in a statement to media.
"I assure my party-mates that I shall continue to work hard for the victory of all local candidates of One Cebu," he also said.