BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte grabbed the nod of nearly half of respondents in a survey on voters’ presidential preference held recently in Bacolod City in Negros Occidental.
Duterte netted 440 of the votes in the survey involving 1,000 respondents conducted by the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos (UNO-R) last Jan. 9-14.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas ate 360 votes. The graft-smeared Vice President Jejomar Binay was a poor third with 160.
Cebuano-speaking Duterte beat Roxas even as the Liberal Party potential bet for President is a favorite son of Ilonggo country, jokingly aka aswang territory for aged stories about its people-eating denizens called ‘aswang.’
Roxas, son of the late Senator Gerry Roxas and grandson of the late President Manuel Roxas, is from the Roxas clan of Capiz and the Aranetas of Iloilo and Bacolod.
“Ilonggo country,” generic for provinces whose lingua franca is Hiligaynon or Kinaray-a or Karay-a, or a mix of the two dialects, is composed of the Visayas region provinces of Iloilo, Antique, Aklan and Capiz on Panay Island and Negros Occidental.
Hiligaynon and Karay-a (generic: Ilonggo) are also sparsely spoken in certain areas of what was once a larger region called Western Visayas or ONIRCAPA (Oriental Negros, Iloilo, Romblon, Capiz, Aklan, Palawan, Antique). The dialects remain spoken in Siquijor Island (which has become synonymous with current aswang stories), Camiguin Island and far-of Cuyo Islands in the fringes of Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.
In the 2010 vice presidential race, Aswang Country rallied behind Roxas, the running mate of President Benigno Aquino, but failed to overturn Binay’s bid.
In the Bacolod City survey, the poor performance of Binay, the ‘anointed’ standard bearer of the opposition party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, could have been happily factored by affinity with Roxas.
Or influenced badly by massive charges of graft and corruption levelled against the Vice President who was former Makati City mayor, his wife former mayor Dr. Elenita Binay and son, incumbent Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, who has been lately suspended by the Ombudsman, where the Binays are facing charges in connection with alleged overpricing in construction of Makati City projects. The Senate Blue Ribbon is also investigating the Binays on the alleged overpricing and other anomalies.
Duterte’s Davao City although primarily Cebuano-speaking has also a large population coming from Ilonggo country. Duterte traces his roots to Cebu and has for more than two decades sat as mayor of Mindanao’s premier city considered as the melting pot of the country’s regional groupings.
Duterte is being pushed to run for President in 2016. He has been going around the country to drum up support for a shift in form of government from unitary to federal. His speaking engagements called Listening Tour has already spanned Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. While focused on Federalism, the tour however has also morphed into venues for Duterte fans to convince him to run for President. Results of latest surveys showed Duterte grabbing third place, with Binay on top followed by Senator Grace Poe.
During an open forum, Bacolod City lawyer Jesus Hinlo Jr. read the results of the UNO-R survey, which had two questions.
The first was: “Who among the three personalities stated below could best address the criminality, insurgency, drug trafficking, corruption and poverty problems in the Philippines today?”
According to Hinlo, Binay got 180 votes, Roxas received 320 while Duterte garnered 440 votes, with 60 of respondents abstaining.
The next question was “If the Philippine Presidential election is held today, who would you vote to be the next President among the three personalities herein stated?”
Hinlo said Duterte again came first with 440 while Roxas had 360 and Binay, 160.