Cebu governor eyes Senate

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Friday, April 27, 2012

CEBU CITY – Two questions were answered by the One Cebu Party last night: Representative Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district) will run for governor, while her sister Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia will run for senator in 2013.

Gwen, leader of the One Cebu Party, finally announced during a party meeting at the Marco Polo Hotel Thursday night that she will run for senator “to strengthen the party.”

The decision to run for a Senate seat is not for her, she said, but for Cebu and their political party, in preparation for the 2016 presidential elections.


Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has confirmed Gwen’s inclusion in the United Nationalist Organization’s (UNA) senatorial slate, is running for president in 2016.

CEBU. Rep. Pablo Garcia (center) says he is confident his daughter, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia (left), will make it to the Senate in the 2013 elections given the support that she will get from his colleagues in Congress and from her bailiwick, Cebu. His son Rep. Pablo John Garcia (right) also announced his bid to run for governor during a meeting of the One Cebu Party held at Marco Polo Hotel in Cebu City. The father had served as governor of Cebu as well. (Arni Aclao)

The governor described the challenge as another mountain to climb.

Her younger brother Pablo John also announced during the same gathering his decision to run for Cebu governor in 2013.

While at first he considered it a dilemma, he said it was also an opportunity to lead.

Pablo John said the thought of running for governor has bothered him for over a year, and he felt it is his duty as a loyal member of the One Cebu Party to accept the challenge.

In his speech during the meeting, he said he can lead the Province to greater heights, and he can bring something different to his job.

The congressman also said he can lead One Cebu to victory in the 2013 elections.

“Tabangi ko ninyo nga mapaila lang sa mga tawo kinsa si Pablo John Garcia (Help me introduce Pablo John Garcia to your constituents),” he told the mayors and Provincial Board (PB) members present in the meeting.

“I will go to your municipality, to your city in the next few weeks aron madunggan unsa gyud ang sitwasyon didto (to find out what the situation is in your locality),” Pablo John said.


Representative Pablo “Pabling” Garcia (Cebu, 2nd district), on his daughter’s decision to run for senator, said if there’s one person who will worry most, it would be him.

But he said his colleagues in Congress have assured him that they will support Gwen, regardless of the party she chooses.

Pabling said what is important in politics is bailiwick, “and Cebu has the biggest bailiwick.”

“We are more than four million in Cebu, bigger than Armm (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), bigger than Caraga, bigger than other regions,” he said.

Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, who was rumored to have been invited to run for governor under the Liberal Party, was invited to the gathering last night. She was not around.

Gwen is said to have made the decision last Monday, after attending the birthday party of former president Joseph Estrada in Manila.

PB sentiments

Last night, Gwen asked those present for their opinion on her political career.

She said she also wants to hear the sentiments of the mayors and PB members.

Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy encouraged the governor to run for senator because the Visayas lacks representation in the Senate.

He recalled that when he joined the campaign of Senator Sergio Osmeña III, he observed that Cebuanos have a strong appeal in the Visayas and Mindanao.

For his part, PB Member Wilfredo Caminero said he has four relatives who are mayors in Mindanao and he will help campaign for her.

PB Member Julian Daan, a popular radio personality, said he’s also willing to campaign for Gwen in the Visayas and Mindanao. He will ask his friend and radio comedian Goliath to make the governor’s campaign spots.


At Thursday noon, Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the chances of Gwen winning as senator in the 2013 elections are big if she is endorsed by Binay and Estrada.

Pimentel said the latest survey results of the Social Weather Station showed that when endorsing senatorial candidates, Binay has an approval rating of 73 percent, while Estrada 60 percent.

Pimentel said Garcia met with the UNA leaders in Manila recently, but said he did not know what transpired in the meeting.

Binay has announced Garcia’s inclusion in the list of senatoriables under UNA.

UNA is a coalition of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), of which Binay is president, and Estrada’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino.

The governor, who heads the One Cebu Party, was also endorsed by top leaders of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP)-Cebu on Thursday during their induction of officers.


Lawyer Augusto Go, honorary council chairperson of officers of the Cebu Council Executive Board, said he wants to put “on record” his support for Garcia.

Council chairman Hernando Streegan said they will campaign for the governor in their personal capacity since the BSP is non-political.

Garcia was also inducted on Thursday after the group unanimously agreed to appoint her honorary council chairperson.

The governor thanked Go, owner of the University of Cebu, for his endorsement, saying she was deeply honored.

She said she was also honored to be included in the UNA’s list of senatorial candidates.

Turning point

“It is a distinct recognition of the Cebuano vote and the importance of the Cebuano vote in the national scene because we had proven in the past that we could be the turning point here in a previous presidential election,” she said during the BSP event Thursday noon.

She also said she will continue to support the BSP.

As for Senator Pimentel, he was in Cebu as guest speaker of the law review of the University of San Jose-Recoletos College of Law.

In a press conference after his speech, the senator said former Cebu City south district congressman Antonio Cuenco is officially listed as a PDP-Laban member and leader.

When informed that Cuenco is running for congressman with the group of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama of the Liberal Party (LP), Pimentel said this has to be settled in the local level.

But the PDP-Laban president suggested that members and leaders must toe the party line.

When called from his office in Indonesia, Cuenco said he and the late former assemblywoman Nenita “Inday Nita” Cortes-Daluz are original PDP-Laban leaders.

He said Inday Nita’s son, Cebu City Councilor Joey Daluz, is the incumbent PDP-Laban city chair, who suggested transferring the chairmanship to him.

But Cuenco said he will first consult Rama, especially since the mayor is with the LP. (RSA/EOB/Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 27, 2012.

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