FORMER congressman Eduardo Gullas recently defended the decision of his Alayon party to support the presidential bid of Interior and Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas.

While Roxas has yet to formally announce his candidacy, stalwarts of the Liberal Party (LP) have preempted that with their recent pronouncements. He will be President Noynoy Aquino’s anointed and standard-bearer of the administration coalition.

Gullas, in a press statement, listed reasons for Alayon’s decision, although these can be summed up in two: competence and integrity. Roxas, Gullas noted, has served as Cabinet member to three presidents. As legislator, he authored the Cheap Medicines Act. And he has never been tainted with corruption charges.

Gullas’s reasoning is interesting because it tended to point the weaknesses of Roxas’s potentially strong rivals, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe. The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has recommended the filing of plunder charges against Binay for the overpriced Makati City Hall Building II and other shenanigans. Poe’s first elective post is senator, and this is only her third year.

Gullas didn’t mention Roxas’s weaknesses, of course. Like he lacks charisma as a leader. And some people consider this a weakness as well: his wife is Korina Sanchez.

Another thing. One of his possible rivals for control of the first congressional district is San Fernando Mayor Antonio Canoy, who is with the LP. By supporting Roxas, Gullas obviously hopes he could blunt Canoy’s assault. That applies, too, to Talisay

City whose mayor, Johnny V. de los Reyes, is also with the LP.

But the positioning is not limited to Cebu’s first congressional district. In Cebu City, the political alignment has been set long before. The Bando Osmena-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), through its chief Tomas Osmena, is a Roxas ally. Mayor Michael Rama, I would like to think, will be with Binay come hell or high water.

In the province, the situation is reversed. The incumbent, Gov. Hilario Davide III, is with the LP. The opposition One Cebu has not announced its preference, but Binay has visited the Garcias. Also, they are close to the Marcoses, thus Ferdinand Marcos Jr. running for president in next year’s election could prod them to make a choice. Former governor Emilio Osmeña is for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, if he runs for president.

Since majority of the mayors in the province are with the LP, it would be safe to say that Roxas will have the advantage in terms of political machinery in Cebu. Binay will probably get a slice of the pie, considering that he might get the support of One Cebu. It would be interesting to find out if Osmeña can get a sizable support for Duterte’s candidacy. If Poe runs for president, I don’t know where she can get the political support.

Her father, Fernando Poe Jr., ran for president against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004. The actor lost miserably in Cebu and the senator used this as proof of the cheating done by Arroyo to defeat her father. The former president did cheat, the “Hello Garci” tape says so, but I doubt if it was done in Cebu. FPJ didn’t get big-name political leaders here so his defeat here was a given.

While the senator still has to announce her political intention in 2016, she should factor in her decision political reality in the country. Results of surveys need to be translated into votes. A decent political machinery is needed for that.

(khanwens@gmail.com)