The Davide candidacy-A A +A
Thursday, February 21, 2013
MANY people thought that Hilario “Junjun” Davide’s surprising run in Cebu’s gubernatorial race in 2010 against Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia could be attributed to his being the candidate of the frontrunner and eventual winner in the presidential race, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. (Or was it because some voters in the province thought the one who ran for governor was former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Jr., his father?)
Davide actually lost to Garcia by almost 100,000 votes, which is already a big margin had the loser been another candidate. But Junjun was virtually a stranger in the province at that time, given that all of his political activities were spent in Cebu City as councilor. Meaning he was expected to lose—and lose big. But in the early count, he gave a good account of himself until the votes in pro-Gwen areas poured in.
The Garcias forging an alliance with the faction of the Durano clan led by former congressman Ramon “Nito” Durano eventually paid off. Analysts believe that the factoring in of the votes in the bailiwick of the Duranos (fifth district) was the game-changer for Gwen.
In the recent campaign sortie in Cebu of the senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party, PNoy showed he is bent on using his influence and whatever remains of his popularity to boost the candidacies of local LP bets led by Junjun, who is running against Gwen’s brother, Rep. Pablo John (PJ) Garcia.
But will the “Aquino factor” still serve Junjun’s run?
That is one interesting question especially if taken together with the President’s suspension of Gwen, paving the way for the takeover of the Provincial Capitol by Davide’s runningmate Agnes Magpale as acting governor. Gwen’s ouster was followed by an intensified effort to demonize her not only for the cases filed against her but also for her supposed mismanagement of the province before she was suspended.
But will Aquino’s wooing and the demonizing of Gwen be enough to boost Junjun’s candidacy and make him governor on June 30?
I don’t think that the “Aquino” influence would be as intense in Cebu as it was in 2010. It’s a given that a candidate’s popularity is higher than after he wins and serves half of his term (in PNoy’s case, three years). The “Aquino mystique” no longer circles Noynoy’s head like a halo. Governing always mars the image of rulers.
As for efforts to demonize Gwen, I don’t think that would make PJ look like Lucifer. PJ is his own personality and possesses qualifications different from his sister. Junjun will be compared not with Gwen, who is no longer running for reelection, but with PJ. It would be PJ’s personality and qualifications that would be compared with Davide’s.
Meanwhile, One Cebu, the Garcias’ party has remained as better organized than the LP, which has failed to capitalize on its being the country’s ruling party to beef up its provincial structure. Still, the Garcias lost Nito Durano and his group to the LP, although they won over a smaller faction of the clan by partnering PJ with Ramon “Boboy” Durano IV as his vice-gubernatorial bet.
On the other hand, the Garcias are better equipped for a province-wide campaign, having ruled the area for almost two decades, than either Davide (mainly based in Cebu City) or Magpale (who spent much of his political life in the fifth district).
From now to May is still some three months away. Will that be enough time for Junjun to outrace PJ to the finish line?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 22, 2013.