ONE Cebu has chosen aspiring senators who will prioritize Cebu in their agenda, even if none of them is a Cebuano, a party official said.

Gov. Gwendolyn Gar-cia, the party’s president, said the top two criteria in selecting the 12 senators it will endorse are the candidate’s platform for Cebu and whether the candidate actually sought One Cebu’s support.

"The Manny Pacquiao Blog". Click here for stories and updates on the Filipino boxing champ.

“We focused on those who had the best interest of Cebu (in their agenda) either by declaration or previous action and we are sure they will push for the Cebu agenda, which is progress and development. Second, they asked for our support,” Garcia said.

Shut out of the selection were Cebuanos Sergio Osmeña, a former senator; Emilio “Lito” Osmeña, former Cebu governor; and former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Regalado Maambong.

When asked why there is no Cebuano in One Cebu’s senatorial line-up, the governor cited their selection criteria.

One Cebu formally endorsed the following last Saturday night: Franklin Drilon, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Guico Jr., Lito Lapid, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Gilbert Remulla, Bong Revilla, Vicente Sotto III, Adel Tamano and Francisco Tatad.

Rufino Biazon’s name appeared on the tarpaulin carrying the endorsed candidates’ names, but Garcia announced that those who failed to attend the One Cebu activity last Saturday will not be endorsed. Drilon was represented by his wife Mila, while Revilla was represented by his actor-friend Philip Salvador.

Sotto was introduced as a Cebuano, because his family traces its roots to Cebu.

Governor Garcia explained that asking for One Cebu’s help is a clear indication of humility, which is why it is the second criterion in the selection process.

“But, of course, the first qualification is how friendly they are to Cebu—how they showed it by their declarations, or by their actions, by past experience, that they in fact have the good of Cebu as a priority,” said Garcia.

Tamano and Remulla both joined the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo in January with Legarda. Remulla, in his brief speech, said a senior politician advised him he will need Cebu to win the elections.

Enrile mentioned that he took part in making Lapu-Lapu City a lone district and that he fought for the affirmation of Carcar, Naga and Bogo’s conversion into cities.

Estrada said that in 2004, he did not win in Cebu. The first thing he’ll do if he wins in the Senate race, he said, is to call Governor Garcia and ask her what he can do for Cebu.

The choice of Legarda as vice presidential bet of One Cebu was not a surprise. But Garcia explained she had to hold off the announcement until the proper time.

“We both share the same advocacies on the environment, on culture and heritage, on women’s causes, and she has shown that she walks the talk,” said Garcia.

Legarda said she had the blessings of her presidential candidate, Sen. Manuel Villar, in seeking One Cebu’s help.

And if Villar wins, even without One Cebu’s endorsement, she will make sure that Cebu will still get projects, Legarda said.

One Cebu’s choices for the Senate come from six political parties.

Garcia said this will send a message to the entire country that One Cebu is about unity, harmony, coordination and cooperation.

When asked who among the other presidential and vice presidential aspirants tried to woo One Cebu’s endorsement, Garcia said, “I think all of them, except for the Liberal Party’s standard-bearer (Sen. Benigno Aquino III).”

His running mate, Sen. Manuel Roxas II, previously sent feelers he was interested in the governor’s endorsement. (JGA)