Roxas explains why LP snubbed Cebu mayor

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Sunday, November 11, 2012


CEBU CITY - After more than a month, the Liberal Party (LP) finally answered questions why it dropped Mayor Michael Rama and chose Representative Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) as its mayoral bet for the 2013 elections.

During his short visit to Cebu City last Friday, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II explained that Osmeña gained the LP’s support because he was the one who first supported his tandem with President Benigno Aquino III, who was then a senator, during the 2010 elections.

“We cannot deny that Tommy is our first friend at siya yung unang tumayo sa (he was the first to stand up for) LP and supported the Noy-Mar tandem even before it became popular. Nagpapasalamat kami dyan at pinapahalagahan namin yan (We are grateful for that and we value it),” said Roxas, who was the running mate of Aquino in the 2010 polls but lost to Vice President Jejomar Binay.

It was Roxas, during his presidency at LP, who issued the certificate of nomination to Osmeña and his group Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) days before the filing of the certificate of candidacy last month.

Roxas, though, already went on a leave of absence from his LP position, following his appointment as DILG secretary.

Also, Roxas pointed out that the decision of the LP to choose Osmeña over Rama was based on the endorsement of the LP leaders in Cebu like Hilario “Junjun” Davide III, as well as barangay officials and civic leaders, among others.

“It was the choice of the local LP. Di naman ito dictatorship. Overwhelmingly, the selection, of course, was for Tommy Osmeña. Ang taga-Cebu naman talaga ang kinonsulta namin kung sino ang aming magiging kandidato (We consulted the Cebuanos on who our candidate should be),” he said.

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“Basically, that (endorsement) is really the main reason. Pero ako, personally, maka-Tommy ako,” Roxas added, after being asked further on what other factors LP considered in choosing Osmeña over Rama.

Contrary to the mayor’s claim, Roxas said that the south district congressman is a member of the LP who attends party events and pays his dues.

“Pero di naman talaga basehan yung pagka-miyembro mo sa partido (But party membership is not the basis) in order for you to get a certain position,” he said.

Rama earlier said that Osmeña should not get the backing of the LP because unlike him, he is not a member of the LP and that BOPK has been publicly saying they don’t need the support of any national party for the 2013 polls.

Considering that they are friends, Roxas said he was hurt to learn that Rama was disheartened by the LP’s decision to support Osmeña.

“But it’s understandable,” he added.

For the 2013 elections, Rama will be running under Binay’s United Nationalists Alliance (UNA) ticket.

‘Propaganda’

Meanwhile, Roxas dismissed reports that LP does not have a candidate in Cebu Province and has declared it a free zone.

“It is just a black propaganda,” he said, reiterating that Davide and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale will be their candidates for governor and vice governor, respectively.

President Aquino, he pointed out, will be coming to Cebu to campaign for the local candidates for the May 2013 elections.

Secretary Roxas also visited the new Mandaue City Public Market yesterday morning and assured the National Government will help improve the facility.

Roxas, who was accompanied by local LP members, said he will help look for funds needed to fix the market’s drainage system.

“Hiningi ang tulong natin sa National Government ni Mayor Jonas Cortes na lalo pa nating mapaganda at mapaayos and Mandaue Public Market (Mayor Cortes has asked the National Government to help improve the Mandaue Public Market),” Roxas told reporters.

Roxas was accompanied by gubernatorial aspirant Hilario “Junjun” Davide III, Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, Mayor Cortes, Vice Mayor Glenn Bercede, Rep. Luigi Quisumbing (Cebu, sixth district), Provincial Board Member Thadeo Ouano, and city councilors.

Enterprise

The secretary checked the goods at the market, particularly fish and meat, and asked about the prices. Roxas said he was glad that the prices of goods remained the same as when he was still the secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry.

He said the Department of Interior and Local Government wants to promote “enterprise development” in local governments.

Roxas noted that the Mandaue Public Market “is relatively cleaner than other markets,” and stressed the importance of keeping the market clean to avoid diseases.

“I’ve been to many markets and this is one of the cleanest. There are things that need to be improved, but this market is clean and orderly,” said Roxas.

The new market, located at the back of the Mandaue City Sports and Cultural Complex in Barangay Centro, opened last January.

Before leaving, Roxas and company chatted over sikwate or native hot chocolate and puto maya.

Mayor Cortes said Mandaue needs help from the National Government, even though it is a highly urbanized city. “We are happy that Secretary Mar offered to help us tap some funds to improve our market.” (PDF/RSB)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 12, 2012.

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