1st district mayors ‘support PJ’s bid’-A A +A
Thursday, July 12, 2012
EXCEPT for the mayor of San Fernando town, all the other local chief executives in Cebu’s first district are supporting the gubernatorial bid of Rep. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia (Cebu, third district), said Mayor Valdemar Chiong of the City of Naga.
Chiong said they are doing this because of their gratitude to the congressman’s sister, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Chiong, who is a member of the Alayon Party of Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas (Cebu, first district), said that Gov. Garcia has poured several projects into the first district, including the City of Naga, since she became governor in 2004.
Alayon is allied with the Nacionalista Party (NP), which is reportedly going to coalesce with the administration’s Liberal Party (LP).
The first district is composed of the cities of Naga, Talisay and Carcar, and the municipalities of Minglanilla, San Fernando and Sibonga.
Chiong said although Gov. Garcia was defeated by gubernatorial hopeful Hilario Davide III in the May 10, 2010 elections in all towns and cities in the first district, it was largely attributed to the presence of now elected President Benigno Aquino III of LP.
Aquino held a motorcade from Carcar to Talisay, passing through Naga and the towns of San Fernando and Minglanilla, while the 2010 election was approaching.
Chiong said he is confident that Davide’s winning record in the 2010 polls can no longer be duplicated in next year’s elections.
Chiong said that the Alayon mayors, except for Mayor Antonio Canoy of San Fernando who is a Liberal Party member, have informed Gullas of their decision to support Rep. Pablo John for the gubernatorial post.
Gullas, Chiong said, told them that he (Gullas) will respect their decision.
Chiong was considered a strong contender for congressman in the first district early this year because Gullas is on his third and final term.
Gullas, however, declared his grandson, Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas, as his successor after a district-wide consultation.
Rep. Pablo Garcia (Cebu, second district), on the other hand, has declined to give any meaning to reports that Rep. Gullas is leading the talks on the coalition between LP and NP.
Samsam Gullas was earlier reported as saying that his grandfather has been asked by NP leader Sen. Manuel Villar to lead the talks on the group’s coalition with LP.
“I have the highest respect for him (Gullas) so I don’t want to give any meaning to that statement,” the older Garcia said.
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, running mate of Davide under LP in next year’s elections, chose not to answer questions about Gullas’ reported role in the talk.
Last Monday, the second district congressman together with his children, Rep. Pablo John and Gov. Garcia, went to the office of Gullas at University of the Visayas.
This was confirmed by Rep. Pablo John through a text message sent to Sun.Star Cebu.
He said it was a courtesy call as Alayon and One Cebu Party have always been allies.
“He informed us that all his mayors in the first district are firmly behind my candidacy as governor and Gov. Gwen’s (candidacy) as senator,” Rep. Pablo John said in his text message.
He said that he respects Rep. Gullas’s decision on whom the latter will support for governor.
Gullas earlier announced that he is supporting Magpale’s candidacy as vice governor under LP, but remains non-committal on where his support for governor would be.
When Rep. Pablo John was asked if Rep. Gullas expressed support for his gubernatorial bid, the former said, “I have so much respect for Congressman Gullas and to show my respect, I will let him make any pronouncement on that matter himself.”
Sun.Star Cebu tried to contact Rep. Gullas for his statement but he was in a meeting, while several attempts to call Davide but were not answered.
Meanwhile, Magpale announced that she and the members of Bakud party will not attend the State of the Province Address (SOPA) on July 20.
She made the announcement after a meeting with Davide in her office.
“I received a text message from Red (Rep. Ramon Durano VI, Bakud party’s chairman), and Bakud decided that we will not attend,” said Magpale.
She said that in yesterday’s meeting, Davide revealed an upcoming visit of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
They also discussed potential candidates in the fifth district, where Bakud is based.
Magpale said they learned that Danao City Mayor Boy Durano and his brother Don Durano will take their oath as One Cebu Party members, and that national opposition leaders like former president Joseph Estrada and Vice President Jejomar Binay are coming for the SOPA.
“Ug moadto pa sa (They are also going to) Danao City,” she said.
But Gov. Garcia, her brother Rep. Pablo John and Capitol consultant Rory Jon Sepulveda said there will be no partisan political activity during the SOPA.
“Sila man gud ang nag-una una. One year pa ang election nag-ihap ihap na pila sa PB members… (The election is still a year away and they’re already counting who among the Provincial Board members are their allies),” Congressman Garcia said.
Sepulveda, interviewed separately, said there will be no oath-taking during the SOPA.
Since it will be the governor’s last, everyone is invited, including “past, present and future friends.”
Among the expected guests are Binay, Estrada, several governors, members of Congress and members of President Benigno Aquino III’s cabinet.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 12, 2012.