President Rodrigo Duterte has officially declared his support for the gubernatorial bid of longtime ally and former Cabinet secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr.
“Ang kandidato ko talaga dito [sa Bohol] si Jun [Evasco],” said Duterte in a speech at the turnover of military housing units in Camp Rajah Sikatuna in Carmen on Tuesday.
Duterte did not mention Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap by name but the President was clearly referring to the third-term Bohol representative when he said that Evasco’s rival will not be getting his support.
Duterte said that Yap once asked for him to raise his hand in public.
“Pero yung tiyo ni Bong [Go]…Magpataas man og kamot and he asks for it in public and I don’t want to embarrass people,” Duterte said referring to Yap who has been noted to have some resemblance to former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
“But you know I have to go there sa Bohol and one day announce that you are not my candidate,” he added.
The President noted that he and Yap were “never allied together” and that the congressman “never helped” him.
Yap is running for governor under ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan and has joined the President in official trips abroad, particularly those to China.
Although Evasco will be running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition, his party since the early 1990s, he has been an ally of Duterte since 1989.
Evasco served as Duterte’s chief of staff from 1998 to 2004 and was Officer-in-Charge of the Davao City Engineer’s Office from 2004 to 2007 before becoming mayor of Maribojoc from 2007 to 2016.
During the 2016 presidential election, Evasco served as Duterte’s campaign manager.