Thursday, June 20, 2019

Realignments stir Mandaue City

‘DREAM TEAM.’ (From left) Thadeo Jonkie Ouano, Glenn Bercede, Jonas Cortes, Lollipop Ouano-Dizon and Inday Neriza Soon-Ruiz. (SunStar photo/Alex Badayos)

LEADERS, “natives” of Mandaue City, who ran against each other in past elections now declared themselves united against Mayor Luis Gabriel “Luigi” Quisumbing.

In what they called the “Powerhouse Team” or “Dream Team” press conference, Rep. Jonas Cortes (Cebu, 6th District) announced his candidacy as mayor against Quisumbing whom he accused of ruining the City’s programs and deprived Mandauehanons of their livelihood.

Cortes also announced the candidacy of Enmarie Dolores “Lolypop” Ouano-Dizon as congresswoman of Cebu’s 6th district.

Board Member Glenn Bercede will slide down as his running-mate for vice mayor.

Incumbent 6th District Board Member Thadeo Jovito “Jonkie” Ouano, Lolypop’s brother, will run for election. Glenn Soco, chairman of the Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) of the Regional Development Council (RDC), will run for board member to replace Bercede.

Those who are running for Mandaue City councilor are former congresswoman Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, Jun Arcilla, Ting Sol Cabahug, Malcolm Sanchez, Cynthia Cinco Remedio, Joel Mangubat Seno, Anjong Ouano Icalina, Jimmy Lumapas and Maline Cortes Zafra.

Cortes said he is happy that he was able to unite practically almost all the clans who are natives and leaders of Mandaue City, including the clans of Cortes, Ouano, Seno, Soon, Sanchez, Lumapas, Cabahug, Manatad and Del Mar, among others.

Cortes is the head of Kaabag, a local political group, while Lolypop is the chief of Anak sa Mandaue, another local political group. They are all allied with the PDP-Laban, the ruling party of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We will all file our certificates of candidacy on Monday, Oct. 15. We are all for public service. If I will become Mandaue City mayor again, I will not build a wall, but build a bridge with the people,” Cortes said.

In being able to unite all the clans in Mandaue City, Cortes said the secret is that he adopted the principle of his father, the late Mandaue City Mayor Demetrio Cortes Jr.: “Never burn bridges (with your political opponents) because you will never know that time will come that you will unite each other. We have no bad blood against each other.”

Cortes criticized Quisumbing for terminating the services of “job order” (JO) employees who have been working since the late Mandaue City Mayor Alfredo “Pedong” Ouano.

Cortes also criticized Quisumbing for entering into loans to fund infrastructure projects that would put Mandaue City to debt, instead of adopting “Public-Private Partnerships” (PPP) with no government spending.

Lolypop said that although she and Cortes were from opposite camps during the 2016 elections, their alliance came easy because of their respect for each other and their communication lines were open.

Soon-Ruiz said the unity of almost all clans has a bandwagon effect, and she believed that their victory come May 13, 2019 election is already at hand.

Meanwhile, Quisumbing and Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna found it unfortunate that their formidable alliance in the 2016 elections had to disband.

Quisumbing believes this has something to do with the plunder complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Cortes.

“It’s unfortunate that our alliance with Cong. Cortes dissolved due to his request that we delay the submission of documents to the Ombudsman when a subpoena was sent to City Hall regarding his sale of land at P50 per square meter,” Quisumbing told SunStar Cebu, referring to the sale of a 3.5-hectare reclaimed lot for only P1.8 million when Cortes was mayor of Mandaue City.

“The magnitude of that corrupt transaction is something I cannot turn a blind eye to. I remain committed to put Mandaue City above self. I wish them the best in 2019,” added Quisumbing.

“Jonas, Luigi and I were all allied before. It was Jonas who pushed Luigi to run for mayor to prevent Lolypop or the Ouanos from getting back to City Hall. Luigi had to give up his reelection, which opened the position to Jonas,” Fortuna recalled.

Quisumbing and Fortuna are both running for reelection.

“I believe in the man,” Fortuna said of Quisumbing. “I have seen how he runs the city and especially the changes that he put in that leveled-up Mandaue. He deserves the chance to continue his programs and realize his vision for Mandaue,” said Fortuna. (JGA, EOB)


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