SENATORIAL candidate Emilio Mario “Lito” Osmeña cut off his financial support to the Liberal Party (LP) to avoid helping Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez, but said he will continue to help the rest of the party members.

Lito said he will contribute campaign funds directly to Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and gubernatorial bet Hilario Davide III to make sure Sanchez will not benefit from these.

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He has so far contributed P1 million for LP’s headquarters in Cebu City and also P500,000 for Davide’s campaign.

But because he foresees that Sanchez will betray the LP, he said he will not help the party in any way that will benefit the vice gubernatorial candidate, who he said is causing a “severe” conflict within the party.

Lito, 71, said he will also support the Cebu City candidates of LP, and hopes to get the support of One Cebu, after Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia earlier said that her party will help those who have helped Cebu.

“I’m helping now the Liberal Party, which means all except Greg. I’m not bridge-financing the Liberal Party anymore, I will still help the LP but I will help directly didto sa ubos,” he said yesterday.

Lito’s commitment, however, is not absolute, saying that he may still change his mind if Davide and Aquino cannot hold together the party’s local chapters.

“Pwerteng gubota diha sa LP karon pero wala na ko’y labot nila.

Ako, igo lang ko mutabang ni Davide and Noynoy if they want my help but if they will prove themselves as not capable of running their own affairs, I’m not going to sink with them.

Dili ko mutungtong sa barko ig dayong kalunod. Mubugsay sad ko sa akong kaugalingong bangka (The LP is in deep trouble right now. But I’m only here to help Davide and Noynoy. I won’t board a sinking ship. I will paddle my own boat),” he told reporters.

Running

Sanchez, he said, is using his radio station to attack other LP members, which is exactly what the vice governor did to him in the past.

Lito was recently declared qualified to run for senator after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc ruled that he has shown his capability to wage a national campaign. This reverses its previous decision to remove him from the list of candidates.

In a thanksgiving lunch with members of the media yesterday, he said that he will help Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan even if its founder, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, will not endorse him.

Tomas earlier said that he would choose to help his brother, former Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III, who is also running for senator.

Lito said he does not see any problem because he will also vote for his cousin.

“Of course he will support Serge, that’s his brother. There are 12 positions for senator, I will vote for Serge. I don’t need help because the Cebuanos will vote for me anyway. It’s Serge who needs his help,” he said of his cousin Tomas.

As for getting the endorsement of One Cebu, Lito is happy with the governor’s statement that the party will help candidates who have helped the Province.

“There’s logic to that... and that favors me because I’ve helped Cebu a lot,” said Lito, who was governor of Cebu from 1988 to 1992.

Among his projects are the Transcentral Highway and the Mactan Cebu International Airport. (LCR)