BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao del Norte’s veteran politician Vice Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio, Jr., could be seeing his last political derby in the 2016 election.
Up against the province’s political kingpins, Suaybaguio is fighting a lonely battle for the governorship, a post he had long coveted.
Suaybaguio is running under the banner of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) against Congressman Anthony del Rosario (AGR), son of outgoing Governor Rodolfo del Rosario, as standard bearer of the administration Liberal Party.
In his battle against AGR, Suaybaguio faces a formidable machinery headed by the province’s political giants: Gov. del Rosario and former Congressman Tonyboy Floirendo.
Suaybaguio is himself a byword in the province, carrying the name of one of the oldest families in Tagum City, the province’s capital city. But this could be overwhelmed by the Floirendo-del Rosario bloc.
Even carrying the banner of the PDP-Laban, which is fielding Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the presidential race, may not even boost Suaybaguio’s bid. Suaybaguio hasclaimed he has the support of Duterte and has posted the photo below in his Facebook account. The photo has been subject of funny commentaries, having been shot before Suaybaguio split with the del Rosarios. PDP-Laban reportedly said that the party has not endorsed Suaybaguio as its candidate for governor.
For decades, the Del Rosario-Floireno business/political bloc ruled Davao del Norte’s political landscape, it’s influence anchored on the pioneering Cavendish banana growing and exporting giant Tadeco (Tagum Development Corporation).
Tadeco was founded by the late Don Antonio Floirendo (known as White Hair, he was considered as the province’s political kingpin during his time), together with brother-in-law Gov. del Rosario.
It is an open secret that Suaybaguio’s political career was nurtured by the Floirendo-del Rosario power bloc.
There is a painful sore that preceded the coming Suaybaguio-del Rosario collision that rattled the province’s political weather.
A political ally of the Floirendo-del Rosario combine for decades, Suaybaguio parted ways with his Liberal Party allies at the last minutes of deadline for filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC) in mid-October last year.
The split fired the starting gun for the clash with AGR and his former political allies that may have opened the exit door for Suaybaguio’s political career.
Given the strong influence of the Floirendo-del Rosario power bloc, Suaybaguio is facing the sunset of his political life without even the slimmest chance of winning his last political battle.