ELECTION candidates joining this year’s Suroy Suroy Sugbo southern leg admitted they took part in the tour in the hope of getting the endorsement of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

Vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda was more specific, though.

“I hope (she endorses me). Nagpaparinig na nga ako (I’m dropping hints),” Legarda, of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, said during a brief stop of the tour in Malabuyoc town.

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She added that she hopes to get the endorsement, believing she and Garcia have a lot in common—they share the same advocacies and are both women leaders.

Rumors are rife that Legarda is the vice presidential bet who will be supported by One Cebu, the political party headed by Garcia. The party has endorsed Lakas-CMD-Kampi candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro for president, who also joined this week’s tour.

Garcia, however, refused to say for now whether or not Legarda is indeed One Cebu’s choice.

When reporters sought her reaction to the party’s possible endorsement of Legarda, Garcia said: “(My reaction is) a very nice, beautiful smile and I hope all of you will enjoy the Suroy Suroy Sugbo.”

There were times, though, that Legarda was introduced as the country’s next vice president, in the same manner that Teodoro was introduced as the country’s next president.

Senatorial candidates Gilbert Remulla of the Nacionalista Party and Gwen Pimentel, daughter of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., admitted to joining the tour to seek Garcia’s endorsement as well.

Both said they were invited by the governor. They also said they have asked for the governor’s support, with Pimentel specifically saying that she is hoping she gets it as it is very important to her.

Very nice

All three candidates lauded the Cebu Provincial Government’s program to showcase the towns and component cities. Another candidate the governor invited, Senate aspirant Adel Tamano, said in a separate interview that he also appreciated the opportunity to see Cebu and gain exposure as a first-time candidate.

Legarda said she was very impressed with the program and the fiesta spirit that was felt in the towns.

If she wins, Legarda vowed to support Garcia all the way to boost the tour and will seek to have the tour replicated in Antique province, which is governed by Legarda’s aunt Gov. Sally Perez.

Remulla, for his part, said the Suroy Suroy Sugbo is one the best ways to promote Cebu.

“People should join and see Cebu, which is rich in culture and beauty,” he told reporters.

Pimentel lauded the program for complementing efforts to boost tourism in the country.

“This should be replicated in all parts of the country,” she said, adding that the tour is one of the projects that embody the empowerment of local government units.

Yesterday was the second leg of the three-day Suroy Suroy Sugbo southern leg. Participants went around Oslob, Santander, Samboan, Ginatilan, Malabuyoc, Alegria, Badian and Moalboal towns and were treated to performances and delicacies. (RCT)