Binay, Roxas, or Poe: Who would get the Cebu vote?

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Vice President Jejomar Binay (L), Sen. Grace Poe (center), and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II (R) (File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A candidate vying for the country’s highest office could ignore Cebu at his or her peril, a political analyst said commenting on the recent visit to Cebu of three possible contenders for the presidency in 2016.

“[Cebu] is one of the richest vote areas... And every election national candidates definitely would want majority of the votes there,” political analyst Mon Casiple told CNN Philippines on Monday (August 24) during a phone interview over Headline News.

Data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) showed that the province was the top vote-rich area in the country during the 2013 elections with more than 2.5 million voters —  80.42% of which turned up in precincts.

That number has increased to 3.2 million voters, according to Comelec’s latest data.

Securing votes

On Monday, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, and Sen. Grace Poe visited Cebu for different events, but Casiple believes the three may be after one agenda.

Related: Poe, Binay, Roxas visit vote-rich Cebu

"Well, the basic rule there is you go where the votes are and definitely no candidate can ignore Cebu."

But he added that the province is not the bellwether for national elections.

Joseph Estrada won the presidency in 1998, but lost votes to his rival Emilio Mario Osmeña Jr. — a Cebuano.

Likewise, Binay lost to Roxas in Cebu during the 2010 elections. He garnered only around 400,000 votes, while Roxas got more than a million. Nevertheless, he won the vice presidency.

But Binay hopes to fare better in the province in 2016 with the help of fellow United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) members — Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Related: VP Binay in Cebu: Hoping for more votes than he got in 2010

“Well there are districts there that have been the bulwark of the local politicians. And these have command votes generally in their areas,” Casiple said

Hometown votes are also helpful. None of the three possible presidentiables hail from the province but according to Casiple, the Osmeñas of Cebu are rooting for Roxas.

Both Binay and Roxas announced that they will run for president in 2016. Poe, who has been leading presidential polls, however, has not made any announcement yet.

'Have Cebu in their pocket'

As of this time, Binay has more votes in the province, according to Casiple, if “the leanings of the other local dynasties in Cebu” are considered.

“But this particular elections, nobody can claim that they have Cebu in their pocket,” he added saying that the situation would change depending on who else would run.

“[T]here is a wild card here in the person of [Davao City] Mayor [Rodrigo ] Duterte,” he said. “[Duterte] can directly address the Cebuano voters... He can get a large part of [votes] definitely.”

Casiple, however, forecasts that Poe would get a large chunk of the votes from different provinces, including districts in Cebu.

He said the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), which has a large influence in Cebu, might become Poe’s vehicle in the elections.

Related: NPC meets with Poe, Escudero for the second time

The political analyst said it is not usual routine for possible candidates to visit Cebu months before the elections — especially if you already have the votes.

He added that presidential hopefuls should also consider other areas as well.

“Cebu certainly has a big chunk of national vote. But by no means, it will decide the course of the national presidential elections,” Casiple warned.

“We have certain areas that have been historically more determinant in this area. Like for example the area from Pangasinan to Quezon, including Metro Manila. It has more than 40% of the votes. You get a lot of that, you have a good chance to become the president.”

CNN Philippines’ JC Gotinga and Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.