Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Gwen back at Capitol, has PB’s majority bloc

NEW FACES IN CEBU’S 5TH DISTRICT. Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia (center) raises the hands of newly minted congressman Duke Frasco (right), her son-in-law, and Provincial Board member Red Duterte (left) of Cebu’s fifth district after the two men had been proclaimed winners on Tuesday, May 14 at the Capitol Social Hall. The little photobomber is Garcia’s grandson and Frasco’s son. (SunStar photo / Amper Campaña)

REP. Gwendolyn Garcia will hold office anew at Capitol starting June 30.

She has yet to be proclaimed winner in the gubernatorial race pending the election results of Ronda town and Toledo City, but her lead of 235,000 votes over Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale already assures her of victory.

Magpale concedes

Magpale has conceded the election to Garcia, who had served as governor for three straight terms in 2004, 2007 and 2010.

“We wish to extend our congratulations and well wishes to Governor-elect Gwen Garcia for a successful term as Governor of our beloved Cebu,” Magpale said in her May 14 statement that she titled “A Grateful Heart.”

Magpale’s running mate, Gov. Hilario Davide III, is the new vice governor.

“I also congratulate and thank our exceptional running mate, Governor Junjun Davide, for his overwhelming victory as Vice Governor-elect and assured him of our full support throughout his term as Vice Governor and beyond,” Magpale said.

Proclamation delay

Garcia declined to be proclaimed governor on Tuesday, May 14, even with only 132,000 votes more to be accounted for.

She said in a press conference at the Capitol Social Hall on May 14 that she did not want to “shut out” the votes from Ronda and Toledo City.

Even with her huge margin, she said, “I would rather respect the official canvassing process and we will just wait until every vote has been counted.”

Votes from Ronda and Toledo City cast for Daphne Salimbangon, Garcia’s running mate, will not be enough for her to catch up with Davide’s.

Canvassing will resume at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, when the election results from Ronda and Toledo City would have arrived.

Performance review

Also at the press conference, Garcia said there will be a performance review at Capitol when she assumes the governorship.

“We are going back to instilling pride in ourselves as Cebuanos and as government employees. They will have to be examples of professionalism. That was what we had before. If they have had six years of sloth and laziness, well, their six years are over,” Garcia said.

Garcia, 63, is serving the remaining days of her second term as House representative of Cebu’s third district until June 30.

Majority bloc

When she assumes the governorship, she will need the support of the majority of the Provincial Board (PB) to push her programs.

Of the eight PB winners proclaimed Tuesday, seven are allied with her. She needs one more to claim majority of the 16-member legislative board.

Proclaimed were Yolanda Daan and Raul Bacaltos (1st district), Edsel Galleos and Jose Mari Salvador (2nd), Kerry Shimura (4th), Red Duterte (5th), and Jovito Thadeo “Jonkie” Ouano and Glenn Soco (6th).

Only Salvador is with the opposition.

Awaiting proclamation are Christopher Baricuatro and Jerome Librando (7th), Victoria Corominas and Jimbo Borgonia (3rd), Horacio Franco (4th), and Antonio Magpale (5th).

Since Baricuatro and Borgonia are Garcia allies, Garcia already has nine PB members with her and therefore the majority bloc.

The two other PB members are ex-officio, the federation presidents of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) and the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).

How PB discussions and deliberation will go with Davide as presiding officer remain to be seen.

Davide and Garcia have locked horns over several issues, the latest of which is the construction of the 20-story building within the Capitol compound.

Davide had filed charges against Garcia over the filling of the Balili property in the City of Naga and the construction of the now-dilapidated Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).

Garcia defeated Davide in the 2010 gubernatorial elections, but Davide defeated her younger brothers Pablo John Garcia and Winston Garcia for governor in the 2013 and 2016 elections.

House reps

Other proclamations on Tuesday, May 14, were those of:

* Talisay City Mayor Eduardo R. Gullas as first district congressman

* Janice Zamora Salimbangon as fourth district congresswoman

* Duke Frasco for fifth district congressman; and

* Enmarie “Lolypop” Ouano-Dizon for sixth district congresswoman.

Gullas, current mayor of Talisay City, swapped position with his grandson, Rep. Gerard Anthony Gullas.

Frasco broke ground by defeating Ramon “Red” Durano VI and cut the congressional dynasty of the Duranos in the 5th District since 1949.

Newly-elect PB member Red Duterte is a relative of President Rodrigo Duterte who had thrown his support behind the Garcias. (EOB, MPS)


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