Presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte earlier blasted at the ruling family in Camiguin Province, saying their “feudal” rule over the island has hampered its development and impoverished the people.
Speaking to hundreds gathered at the Mambajo Freedom Park despite threats from the local government that they would be stripped of their benefits if they attended, Duterte said the Romualdo clan have lorded it over Camiguin for too long.
“And you know when that happens, the feudal lords begin to think they own the place and the people,” he said.
He said even his rally was subjected to the kind of “warlordism” that has plagued the province.
“They gave us a hard time when we applied for a permit. They cut our electrical connection,” he said.
“Baho na nga style (That style stinks),” he said.
Despite the threats and harassment which prevented residents from converging at the Plaza until Duterte arrived in the island, the crowd eventually gathered at makeshift stage hastily built by organizers.
The Duterte camp was earlier denied permit to use the town plaza stage.
When news broke that the local government refused to give rally permit, Duterte national campaign manager Mayor Leoncio Evasco of Maribojc, Bohol was adamant.
“Dayon ang rally,” he said.
Organizers also bewailed underhanded tactics reportedly employed by the Romualdos who reportedly ordered the provider of the sound system to cancel its booking for the Duterte rally.
The organizers had to rent a sound system from across the island in Cagayan de Oro City.
Despite the harassment, organizers said some 3,000 residents still braved the afternoon heat to hear Duterte.
During the rally, which started only when the Davao City mayor arrived, Duterte reminded the Romualdos that political rallies are protected by the Constitution and that they could get in trouble for trying to stop yesterday’s rally.
“The people need to hear the candidates so that they can make the right choice,” he said.
Duterte said he himself does not require a permit for any rally in Davao City and that the organizers only need to tell the police where it would be held.
Duterte also hit the Romualdos for their politics of convenience, saying they have been changing parties through the years depending on who is in power.
Baby Romulado is running for governor of Camiguin. She is the wife of JJ Romualdo who is the mayor of Mambajao.
Seeking re-election for the lone district of Camiguin is Rep. XJ Romualdo, brother of JJ.
XJ replaced his then re-electionist father who died in April 2013.
Another Romualdo, Dan-Dan is running as provincial board member.
The Romualdos are members of the Liberal Party although sources said they are supporting presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe. The presidential bet of the Liberal party is Mar Roxas.
The Romualdos have virtually built a dynasty in Camiguin over the last 2 decades.
Duterte urged residents in Camiguin to bring down the Romualdos from power.
He said the time has come for the people to reject feudalism and embrace real change.