5 of 12 Senate hopefuls attend Liloan rally

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Thursday, February 21, 2013


FIVE of their 12 candidates for the Senate joined the Liberal Party’s (LP) second day of Cebu rallies yesterday in Liloan town, but this time without President Benigno Aquino III.

While the President addressed the opening of a private township project in Lapu-Lapu, five of his candidates for the Senate briefly discussed their platforms during a rally in the Tayud Sports Complex.

The LP’s candidate for Cebu governor, Hilario Davide III, again made a pitch for the President’s Senate choices. Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale, who is Davide’s running mate, talked about how she has run the Capitol since Dec. 19.

Their trips to Liloan eased by better weather, Senate candidates Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes and Koko Pimentel made time to talk to their supporters in the north.

Former tourism secretary Ace Durano, who is running for congressman in the fifth district, was also seen, along with some mayors allied with the LP.

Capacity

According to Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano V (Cebu, 5th district) about 3,000 attended. For crowd control, some were kept from entering the packed gym.

The rally was supposed to be in the Panphil B. Frasco Memorial Sports Complex, but the LP chose to have it in Tayud instead.

Liloan Mayor Duke Frasco, a One Cebu ally and suspend Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s son-in-law, said he offered the PBF gym as a venue.

“The truth is they never even requested to use the PBF Gym in Poblacion. I said they were all welcome to come and even offered and suggested (that) they can use the PBF gym for their rally,” Mayor Frasco said in a text message.

He also said the Tayud Sports Complex has a maximum capacity of 1,000.

“Davide said, they are not after quantity. My thought is they didn’t want to use the bigger gym since it bears my father’s name at the entrance, and it would require a bigger crowd since its capacity is 6,000,” Frasco said.

Davide, in his speech, said: “Ang tuyo nila dili ang mayor sa Liloan. Ang tuyo nila ang katawhan sa Liloan (The Senate candidates are not here for the mayor. They are here for the people of Liloan).”

Meals

In an interview later, Davide said that President Aquino promised to return to Cebu, probably in April, to campaign for the local candidates. The official campaign season for local offices will begin on March 29.

After the rally, Barangay Captain Jimmy Maglasang, who is running for mayor against Frasco, said around 3,000 people were served packed lunches.

The Commission on Elections prohibits the distribution of meals during a political rally.

Also yesterday, a day after the proclamation rally in Talisay City, organizers apologized for causing traffic and Alayon Party members clarified they did not snub the president’s party.

Contrary to their earlier pronouncement, Rep. Eduardo Gullas (Cebu, 1st district) and members of the district’s ruling party did not attend LP’s proclamation rally in Talisay City.

A member of the Alayon Party clarified that Gullas and their colleagues did not snub the activity. But they decided not to go to the event after hearing that President Aquino would not be able to attend because of typhoon Crising.

In an interview yesterday, Talisay City Vice Mayor Alan Bucao said he, Gullas and their allies converged at the Talisay City Hall last Tuesday and had planned to go to the rally together.

Wrong tip

They all wore orange shirts, he said, to show support for the Manny Villar-led Nacionalista Party (NP). The NP is in a coalition with the LP.

But they decided to not to go to the Tabunok Sports Complex after hearing reports that flights from Dumaguete City to Cebu were cancelled due to heavy rains and strong winds.

Aquino and senatorial candidates of Team PNoy were in Dumaguete City last Tuesday for their campaign sorties there.

Alayon allies assumed the President would not make it, so they decided to go home.

Bucao also denied that their decision not to attend the LP rally was out of fear that they would be jeered by LP’s supporters.

“It really depends on them. If they would do it, then it reflects the party’s true attitude,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bucao lamented that organizers of the rally did not heed their advice to hold the activity at the Poblacion Sports Complex instead of the Tabunok Sports Complex.

Motorists complained about the heavy traffic in Tabunok on the night of the rally.

Closed

Bucao, who chairs the City of Talisay Traffic Operation and Development Authority (CT-TODA), said that Gullas advised them to prepare the Poblacion Sports Complex as an alternative venue if the heavy rains continued.

The LP originally planned to hold the rally on a vacant lot across the Talisay City Hall.

He also disclosed that Gullas offered the Poblacion Sports Complex as a possible venue, but this was reportedly ignored.

Bucao said that holding the rally in Tabunok did not only cause inconvenience for motorists and commuters, it also posed risks to those who attended the activity, especially those who parked their vehicles near the Mananga Bridge.

The Poblacion Sports Complex would have been an ideal venue, he added, since there were enough parking spaces and it was accessible via the Cebu South Coastal Road.

But Talisay City opposition councilor Romeo Villarante said the group had a consensus to hold the rally in Tabunok because of its strategic location.

He admitted, though, that he didn’t expect that the Presidential Security Group and the Philippine National Police would close part of the national highway and cause heavy traffic in the area. They apologized to the public for the inconvenience the rally caused.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 21, 2013.

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