Choosing battles to wage-A A +A
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
IT LOOKS like talks for the Nacionalista Party (NP) to join forces with the Liberal Party (LP) in next year’s elections are finally winding down. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, an LP stalwart, said in a press conference yesterday that LP has committed to give NP three to four slots in its senatorial slate. What is left, he said, is to discuss other details, especially the local elections.
That explains Rep. Eduardo Gullas’s continued refusal to openly support the candidacy of Rep. Pablo John Garcia for governor in the 2013 polls. How the LP-NP alliance would play out in the first district will still be discussed. Gullas obviously wants to be given a bigger say in the decision-making process of the alliance in the district. The LP head there is San Fernando Mayor Abe Canoy.
Gullas wisely allowed first district mayors who are with his party Alayon to talk with One Cebu stalwarts and to announce their preference for PJ over LP gubernatorial bet Hilario “Junjun” Davide III. That, I would say, is intended to force the hand of Davide, who reportedly wants to give Canoy a bigger say in LP decision-making in the district. Davide is being pushed to choose between Gullas and Canoy.
In the meantime, One Cebu and the Garcias are not standing idly by. Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, her brother PJ and even her father, Rep. Pablo Garcia are aggressively wooing Gullas and the first district mayors in the hope that Alayon would not sever its alliance with One Cebu. I think, however, that Gullas’s options at this stage are limited.
Once the LP-NP alliance is cemented at the national level, Gullas, as much as he would like the Alayon-One Cebu link to remain, will have to bring his party to the LP fold.
If that happens, he will have to convince the first district mayors in Alayon to follow his lead. In that situation, the mayors will be pushed to choose between Gullas and the Garcias. Their choice would be a no-brainer, and the Garcias know that.
What is happening in the first district shows the important role the governor plays in the wooing process. This reinforces the view that it would serve the Garcias well if they focus their attention on Cebu instead of having the governor run for the Senate, something that requires her to conduct a campaign nationwide.
The LP attempt to wrest from the Garcias control of the province by fielding Davide and Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale as its candidates and using its influence being the administration party to strengthen its local organization can be considered a serious concern. If the Garcias were to survive the LP juggernaut, it should choose its battles well. The worst case scenario is for both gubernatorial and senatorial bids to falter.
Then again, the deadline for the filing of the certificates of candidacy is still a few months away. That One Cebu has yet to give its commitment to support the congressional bid of Provincial Board Member Alex Binghay in the third district can be a recognition by the Garcias of the need to provide the governor with an option if she backs off from her senatorial ambition and focuses on the province instead.
Surely, Gwen has looked into the lessons offered by the failed bid of former governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña to capture a national post in 1992. He not only lost but his candidate for governor, his wife Annette, was beaten by lawyer Vicente “Tingting” de la Serna.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 11, 2012.