End of the line for One Cebu?-A A +A
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
THE first stanza of the song “My Way” popularized by Frank Sinatra goes this way: “And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain.” With the latest political developments unfolding in the province, can we say that the “end is near” for the Garcias’ dominance in the province?
One Cebu party, founded and headed by Gov. Gwen Garcia, is headed for breakup.
Recently, the Barug Alang sa Kalambuan ug Demokrasya (Bakud) headed by Danao City Vice Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano III forged an alliance with the Liberal Party. The signing of the agreement was witnessed by no less than President Noynoy Aquino last Saturday.
Bakud is a party to reckon with in the province. Nito's political control is not only limited to Danao City but filters into the entire fifth district. Of the nine municipalities and one city under the fifth district, only the mayors of Liloan and Danao are with the Garcias. Liloan Mayor Duke Frasco is the son-in-law of Gwen while Danao City Mayor Ramon “Boy” Durano Jr., is at odds with Nito.
This as the Liberal Party (LP), the Nacionalista Party (NP) headed by Sen. Manny Villar and the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) of business tycoon Danding Cojuangco recently announced the forging of an alliance at the national level. First district Rep. Eduardo Gullas, who heads the local Alayon party, is allied with the NP.
First to jump ship to the LP is sixth district Rep. Luigi Quisumbing. So, what is left for One Cebu?
Well, second district Rep. Pablo Garcia can still run for another term. But sources say that almost all of the mayors in his district except Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia, the governor's brother, will join the LP before the deadline of the filing of certificates of candidacy in the first week of October. LP may field Provincial Board Member Wilfredo Caminero against the older Garcia.
In the third district, which will be left vacant by Rep. Pablo John Garcia, who is running for governor, Provincial Board Member Alex Binghay has expressed his intention to run for Congress. Some say he will run even if he won’t be supported by One Cebu.
In the fourh district, Rep. Benhur Salimbangon might join the administration party.
But he is in dilemma because the Martinezes, who are his political rivals, are already with the LP. Besides, he cannot just abandon the Garcias because of the closeness of his sister, philanthropist Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung, with Gwen.
In the sixth district, Arleigh Sitoy has been with the LP before Luigi jumped ship. I believe Teddy Ouano will also join the LP because of the Ouanos’ alliance with Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortez, an LP member.
There might also be realignment in the Provincial Board (PB) with the coalition of Bakud, Alayon and LP. Board Members Julian Daan (Esteban Escudero) and Sergio Restauro are Gullas proteges. In the second district, John Peter Calderon is a relative of the Duranos while Caminero has already thrown his support to LP gubernatorial bet Hilario “Junjun” Davide III.
Aside from Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, four other members of the Durano clan are in the Board. They are Calderon, Ivy Durano Meca (president of the Municipal Councilors League), Jude Sybico and Miguel Antonio Magpale (the vice governor's son).
At least we can have now an independent and not a rubber stamp PB.
Political observers say that what the Garcias are doing, with Gwen running for senator and Pablo John running for governor, is political suicide as their resources will be divided. Pablo John still needs exposure in the province and needs to court local officials.
Has the time come for the dominance of the Garcias to end? Well, even great leaders have their own downfall.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 11, 2012.