DAVAO CITY – The electoral campaign in Davao del Norte was hot as minutes before the deadline for the filing of candidacy last Friday, incumbent Vice Governor Victorio Suaybaguio, who earlier already filed a certificate of candidacy (COC) as First District Representative, withdrew his COC and filed instead as Governor to challenge First District Rep. Anthony G. Del Rosario.
The video posted in Facebook last October 16 showed a meeting between Del Rosario and Suaybaguio inside the Commission on Elections office in the province. In the video, Del Rosario repeatedly asked Suaybaguio why the latter reneged their earlier agreement.
“How can you do this to me, pare? I gave you Congress tapos ganito gagawin mo sa akin (I gave you Congress but you did this to me),” Del Rosario told Suaybaguio who remained mum during the confrontation.
Del Rosario said he should have run to finish his third term for Congressman had he known that Suaybaguio will run as governor.
“You asked me to run for governor so that you can become congressman, and now ganito gagawin mo sa akin, lalabanan mo pala ako ng governor. Eh dapat tumakbo ka na lang na governor ako na lang nag-congressman. I wanted to finish my term as congressman tapos ganito gagawin mo sa akin (You asked me to run for governor so that you can become congressman, and now you do this to me, you will challenge me as governor. You should have run as governor and I should have run as Congressman. I wanted to finish my term as congressman),” said Del Rosario.
As of 4:37 Monday, the video posted had 56,717 views and 960 shares.
On Monday, Suaybaguio called for a press conference and told the members of the press that he is officially resigned as a member of the Liberal Party and is now running as an independent candidate.
Suaybaguio said he felt “being taken for granted”.
“I have been a loyal ally to the big political clan of Davao del Norte, the Floirendo’s and the Del Rosario’s through the years, but I felt I was being taken for granted,” said Suaybaguio.
“As a loyal ally to them, I was the most logical choice to be governor. But much to my dismay I was denied several times,” he said.
Suaybaguio described Governor Rodolfo Del Rosario and former Davao del Norte Rep. Tonyboy Floirendo as “kingmakers of the province” who “got to call the shots”.
Floirendo’s father Antonio Floirendo, Sr. is known as the “Banana King” who founded Tagum Agricultural Development Company, Inc. (TADECO). Tadeco exports banana to the Japanese market since early 1970s. The Floirendo’s also founded the Anflocor Group of Companies which is engaged in various businesses in Mindanao.
“They floated the idea of Rodney del Rosario, the son of Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, to run for governor. They convinced me to retire,” he said.
“It was clear to me that they want to keep the province within the holds of their families,” said Suaybaguio.
He said as agreed upon by the Liberal Party and the local political party Kusog Baryohanon, he will run as congressman of District 1 of Davao del Norte, Floirendo will run as congressman of District 2, Rep. Del Rosario will run as governor and Board Member Alan Dujali will run as vice governor.
But Suaybaguio said he “felt being left out” and described an instance where Governor Del Rosario “hesitantly raised” his arm, while Floirendo “refused to have his picture taken with me”.
“They ignored me as if I did not exist even if I was part of the ticket,” said Suaybaguio.
“But worst of all, they fielded candidates to run against me as a congressman of District 1. Governor Del Rosario, whom we believe fielded his close ally, Arrel Olaño, who has a pending case involving the (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scandal, to run against me,” he said.
Olaño also served as Davao del Norte First District Congressman from 2001-2010.
Suaybaguio said he believes “this is going to be a battle between David and Goliath.”
“But with God as my guide, and with the support of the people who believe in my leadership, I am confident that I will win this battle. Last time I checked, David won,” said Suaybaguio.
Meanwhile, Gov. Del Rosario denied that they are ignoring Suaybaguio.
“Papaano siya nakaingon na in-ignore sya ng LP (How can he say that he is being ignored by LP), when he’s the provincial vice-chairman of LP here in Davao del Norte. And every consultation, I saw to it that he will be present, so how could I ignore him in the deliberations within the LP? I really do not know what he meant by that,” said Del Rosario in a radio interview with Radyo ni Juan Tagum.
“He was always a part of the consultation,” he said.
Gov. Del Rosario also confirmed that the position that Suaybaguio and his son, Anthony will be running for was deliberated.
“But it was (Suaybaguio) who wanted to run for congressman after we offered him the governorship,” said the governor.
“AGR would like to continue his term as congressman because he still has one term to go,” he said.
“When he went to the Comelec and filed for Governor, he could have told Congressman AGR that he wanted to be governor, Anthony could have also filed as Congressman and there would not be problem at all,” said Del Rosario.
Del Rosario will be running as mayor of the Island Garden City of Samal. His supposed running mate Vice Mayor Al David Uy also challenged him in the same position.
“Same thing, happened to me in Samal,” he said, adding that Uy withdrew his candidacy as his Vice Mayor and filed COC as Mayor at 4:45 pm on Friday.
He said he is unsure if the incident was planned. (davaotoday.com)