Candidates deny politicking by being present at Sinulog

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013


IF CEBU was known as President Arroyo country over three years ago, is Cebu City now UNA (United Nationalist Alliance) country?

Former senators Richard Gordon and Miguel Zubiri were hesitant to answer the question directly with the latter saying, “Perhaps we (UNA) are just more welcome here.”

Zubiri and Gordon denied that they showed up at this year’s Sinulog because 2013 is an election year.

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Zubiri said he has always been a devotee of the Sto. Niño and has been a consistent Sinulog spectator.

Gordon, for his part, said that he has always promoted Cebu, especially during his stint as Tourism secretary where he coined the slogan, “Wow! Philippines.”

Gordon said he was responsible for putting up the Lapu-Lapu monument at the Luneta.

Both local chief executives of Cebu and Cebu City are candidates under the UNA Party: suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia who is running for the third congressional district and Mayor Michael Rama who is running for reelection.

“The people make Cebu UNA, that is why Cebu is una (first) in our books,” Gordon said.

Gordon and Zubiri are both running for senators under the UNA party.

No politics, please

Rama, for his part, said he did not want to talk politics when Cebu City was still celebrating the Sinulog in honor of Señor Sto. Niño.

“We are not more on politics, we are more on security and order,” he said.

He also refused to confirm whether he gave the go-signal for Garcia to perform in the Sinulog and whether he knew about it for quite some time.

“It’s not material, what matters is that she danced,” Rama said, adding that he is happy that he and Garcia both finished their terms with their respective participation in the Sinulog.

Not even for a second did Rama think that people would be disrespectful to the governor.

Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director Ricky Ballesteros admitted that he was concerned over reports that people would throw tomatoes at the governor while she danced.

Instead, organizers felt that the spectators were moved by Garcia’s dancing despite lack of practice and the fear of a takeover at the Capitol.

But while the UNA senators showed up for the Sinulog and hung out with local allies who are in power, Rama said the presence of independent senatorial candidates Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Edward Hagedorn and Cynthia Villar of the Nacionalista Party-Liberal Party (LP) coalition only means that Cebu is a melting pot for political figures.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, UNA head, and former senator Ernesto Maceda also attended the Sinulog. They went up the grandstand. LP’s Risa Hontiveros preferred to be on a float.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 22, 2013.

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