LOCAL administration party One Cebu narrowed down its choice for vice presidential candidate to two—Nacionalista Party’s (NP) Loren Legarda and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

Rep. Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), the party’s secretary general, made the announcement yesterday, emphasizing the importance of why they should come up with a choice soon.

“A lot of people would like to support Loren Legarda and also Binay. They are both very good candidates,” he said.

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Their choices were narrowed down to only two candidates because Lakas-Kampi-CMD candidate Edu Manzano has not asked for the support of one Cebu.

Legarda, he said, is “a very good friend not only of our family but also to other mayors and leaders in the party.”

Endorsement

Legarda, in a separate interview yesterday, said she is confident of getting the endorsement of One Cebu on March 26, the start of the campaign period for local candidates.

In an ambush interview before she addressed the participants in the 2010 Liga ng mga Barangay Convention at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, Legarda said she does not want to speculate on the decision of the local party.

“I don’t want to assume. I will pray. I will work hard. I will do all I can and I hope I can get the One Cebu endorsement. I believe in One Cebu. I believe in the leadership of Gov. Gwen Garcia and I believe in One Visayas,” Legarda said.

She said the support of the Garcias is important, considering that the political family is influential in Cebu.

Legarda reiterated the issues she raised against her opponent, Sen. Mar Roxas, the vice presidential candidate of the Liberal Party (LP), in the ABS-CBN’s Harapan: The Vice Presidential Debate last Sunday.

She criticized Roxas for pretending to be pro-poor when his actions show lack of interest for the welfare of the poor.

“If he (Roxas) is pro-poor, why is he objecting the distribution of the 1,600 hectares owned by his family in Montalban, Rizal which is placed under agrarian reform? Why is (Roxas) fighting the farmers up to the Supreme Court?” Legarda said.

‘Maneuverings’

She said that if Roxas is pro-poor, then he should initiate the distribution of the land to the farmers because they are beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

Legarda also questioned Roxas’ “maneuverings” for the passage of the Cheaper Medicines Act.

She said Roxas’ version only provided a minimal reduction of medicine prices.

Meanwhile, Pablo John said One Cebu can’t support Roxas because “he has been working against the interest of One Cebu.”

“Look at his recent statements. It’s obvious that he’s antagonistic to One Cebu,” he told reporters.

He was referring to the statement of Roxas that compared the campaign color of NP standard bearer Manny Villar to the uniform of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center inmates.

Earlier, the governor said what Roxas said was meant to look down on the inmates.

Binay, too

Pablo John said One Cebu is also considering Binay, the mayor of Makati City, since he is also a friend of the family and the mayors like him because of his advocacy for the empowerment of local governments.

As for Balamban Mayor Alex Binghay’s statement that he will support Binay, Pablo John said that the mayor “just expressed a preference for Binay but in the end, the party will have to decide.”

Binghay, in a separate interview, said he will not withdraw his support for Binay because he has given him his word.

Aside from Binay being a personal friend, Binghay said he likes the programs of Binay as a local chief executive.