By Jun Ledesma

Tinderbox in Davao 

WE can count with our fingers the number of days left in the campaign and soon the electorates will cast their ballots for the May 9 elections. At this point, it would take radical and earthshaking issues and events to alter the voter’s decision for their preferred candidates, especially for President and  Vice President. 

At this point too, the only remaining contenders for President are former governor and senator Bongbong “BBM” Marcos and Vice Pres. Leni Robredo. For Vice President we are only looking at three aspirants, namely Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte,  Sen. Tito Sotto and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan. 

Leading by more than the combined votes of their adversaries in various surveys are BBM and Sara. For the longest time, the Philippines is bound to have a majority President and Vice President. In the recent survey done by Laylo Research Institute and Publicus Asia, the gap between the UniTeam and the Pinklawans have even widened. 

At this point too some candidates are exhibiting campaign fatigue. It’s bad that Rodante Marcoleta withdrew his bid for a senate seat. His ratings in the surveys have not improved.  Leni Robredo on the other hand canceled her rally in Cebu when the group she had hoped will be there to prop her campaign declared their support for the UniTeam. 

In Davao del Norte, the main battleground of Hugpong ng Pagbabago Chaired by VP bet Inday Sara Duterte and Partido Reporma of re-electionist Bebot Alvarez, the campaign has gone to high gear. New investment scams have emerged repeating the evil scenario at the height of 2019 polls when victims of wide-scale estafa lost hard-earned savings and properties. It was obvious politicians were and still are behind the scams since some of the suspects who were arrested, jailed, and are still objects of a manhunt were employees of politicians. The most recent investment scam outfit, the media in Tagum City reported, was operating right in the premises of city hall. 

In Davao de Oro, the camp of Partido Reporma had started distributing “G-Card”.  The ugly rumor spreading across the province is that the card has some cash equivalent. But what is worrisome is the reported presence of new faces in Mawab believed to be guns for hire. We do not want to believe this but it will be in the best interest of the public and voters’ safety and those of the candidates if the Philippine National Police and the Comelec look into this report. Early in the election season, two barangay workers identified with Rep. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora were shot in cold blood  in Monkayo, Davao de Oro by gunmen who, until today, remain on the loose and unidentified. 

In fact, the Commission on Elections and PNP must keep an eye on election fraud and security in the First Congressional District of Davao del Norte and the 2nd District of Davao de Oro which are potential tinderboxes in the Davao Region. These two districts are the bastions of Partido Reporma but the latter is losing its grip following the ditching of Ping Lacson on money issues and the unkind attack of Alvarez against children and persons  with disabilities.

On May 5 the UniTeam will stage its penultimate Grand Rally in the Tagum City Hall  grounds. The event is expected to turn the tide in favor of Hugpong ng Pagbabago local candidates. BBM and Sara enjoy an insurmountable lead in Davao Region. Inday Sara for one had handpicked candidates in Davao del  Norte and Davao de Oro and depending on the outcome of the elections, these two provinces will always have a space in her heart.     


About the Columnist

Image of Jun Ledesma

Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.