CEBU CITY -- After weeks of discussion, this city’s opposition group Kugi Uswag Sugbo (Kusug) and the Nacionalista Party (NP) have agreed “in principle” to coalesce for the May 10 elections, Kusug leader and former mayor Alvin Garcia said Tuesday.
Kusug leaders and the NP camp arrived at the decision as other members of the Garcia clan hold consultations on the possibility of delivering the “solid support of the clan” for presidential aspirant Senator Manuel Villar.
“We already agreed in principle on a coalition. We agreed in principle to support Villar. We are still busy organizing the campaign down to the precinct level and after this, Kusug will make a formal announcement,” Alvin said.
His lawyer-son Raymond Garcia, Kusug spokesperson and candidate for city councilor, said the ongoing consultations with their relatives stalled the formal announcement on the coalition.
Whether or not the Garcias in the province decide to support Villar, Alvin said Kusug will formally announce the coalition before the local campaign period officially starts on March 26.
Raymond said south district congressional candidate Jonathan Guardo and north district congressional bet Mary Ann de los Santos were consulted and agreed with the decision.
At this point, they have only finalized support for Villar and remain open to having their allies support their own vice presidential and Senate bets.
“The Garcias want to decide as a clan, meaning all Garcias in the province will support one presidential candidate, except Governor Gwen because she’s already with Gibo (Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi)... Initially, it’s Senator Villar. We’re considering Gibo because of his ties to the governor but right now, we’re more inclined to go with Villar,” Raymond said.
Among those who have been consulted, he said, are the governor’s brothers Nelson (mayoral bet in Dumanjug town), Marlon (vice mayoral bet in Barili), Representative Pablo John (Cebu, 3rd) and Winston, president of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
Representative Pablo Garcia, the governor’s father, was also consulted, said Raymond.
The Garcias are members of Gwen’s One Cebu party, which already pledged Lakas standard-bearer Teodoro its support.
“There are ongoing consultations with them (Garcias) but no final decision has been made… We want to decide as a clan because we want the support to be solid, to deliver votes not only in the city but in other parts of the province as well,” Raymond told Sun.Star Cebu.
Mayor Tomas Osmeña said Tuesday night that Kusug is following the Commission on Audit (COA) rules.
“They are just following COA’s rule: award it to the highest bidder! I heard it’s P68 million just for Cebu City, wow! I heard that is what Kusug was asking. Then Gwen will get from Gibo? Double wow! Just watch Guardo abandon Erap,” said Osmeña.
The opposition’s south district congressional bet, businessman Jonathan Guardo, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Raymond denied that money was a consideration in the party’s decision, adding that it is the NP that needs local allies more, and not the other way around.
“We chose Villar because obviously, he’s the one getting the highest rating and he’s the one who has been consistently contacting us,” he said. (LCR/Sun.Star Cebu)