BLOOD is thicker than water, but not where politics is concerned.
A week before the start of the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2022 elections, Sogod town’s mayor and vice mayor have shifted their allegiance to the One Cebu provincial political party led by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, from the Bakud party run by the Durano family.
Sugbo News revealed Friday night, Sept. 24, 2021 that Sogod Mayor Richard Streegan and his wife, Vice Mayor Lissa Marie “Moonyeen” Durano-Streegan, had shifted alliances and joined the ruling party in Cebu Province.
Vice Mayor Durano-Streegan is a first cousin of former tourism secretary Joseph “Ace” Durano, who is expected to challenge Garcia in the race for governor in 2022.
Subsequently, Sugbo News announced that officials from Carmen town and Toledo City had joined One Cebu Party as well.
The Streegan couple, members of the Sogod Municipal Council and 18 barangay captains who had been affiliated with the Bakud Party in the 2019 elections, took their oath before Garcia as new members of the One Cebu Party on Thursday, Sept. 23, at El Mar Resort in Sogod, Sugbo News said.
Based in Cebu’s 5th congressional district, the Bakud (Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya) Party is currently led by Ace’s brother Ramon “Red” Durano VI as president.
The Garcia family ended the Duranos’ more than 50-year hold on the fifth district when Garcia’s son-in-law Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco defeated reelectionist Red in the race for the congressional seat of the fifth district in the May 2019 elections.
The fifth district is composed of Danao City, which is the bailiwick of the Duranos, and the towns of Borbon, Sogod, Catmon, Carmen, Compostela, Liloan and the four towns in the Camotes Islands—Pilar, Tudela, Poro and San Francisco—in northeastern Cebu.
“Two weeks earlier, the Calderons of the seventh district, who are first degree cousins and allies of the Duranos, also expressed their support for Garcia,” Sugbo News added.
In a statement last Sept. 12, One Cebu revealed that Rep. Peter John Calderon (Cebu, 7th district) and the mayors of all the eight towns of the seventh district, had declared their support for Garcia in the presence of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino.
The seventh district comprises the southwestern municipalities of Alcantara, Alegria, Badian, Dumanjug, Ginatilan, Malabuyoc, Moalboal and Ronda.
Since the seventh district’s creation six years ago, Calderon has been the only congressman to represent the district, defeating two of Garcia’s brothers along the way.
Calderon prevailed over Pablo John Garcia in the 2016 race, and over Nelson Garcia in 2019.
Sugbo News also cited Samboan Mayor Emerito “Doc Tito” Calderon Jr. as declaring “Gov. Gwen is my Gov” during an event in Boljoon town last Sept. 16.
SunStar tried to get the reaction of Bakud Party president Red Durano on the developments but did not get a response as of press time.
Also on Thursday night, Sept. 23, Carmen Mayor Carlo Villamor, Vice Mayor Al Damiles and three municipal councilors already allied with Garcia since the 2019 elections, took their oath as new members of One Cebu in Villamor’s home in Carmen town, Sugbo News reported.
Two former municipal councilors, three barangay captains and two newcomers also joined the political party, it said.
On Saturday afternoon, Sept. 25, Toledo City Mayor Marjorie “Joie” Perales, Vice Mayor Jay Sigue and Municipal Councilors Ceasar Ian Zambo, James Gaite, Ricardo Pepito, Amuerfino Perales, Antonio Borja Jr., Ophelio Dolino, Mark Eric Espinosa, Louis Nicholas Espinosa, Edgar Dejito (Association of Barangay Councils president) and Francis Marvin Prahinog (SK Federation president) also took their oaths as new members of One Cebu at the Toledo City gym.
Sugbo News said Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district), secretary general of the party, witnessed the event.
Governor Garcia has declared that she will run for reelection in the 2022 polls but has not named a running mate.
Last week, Red Durano announced that his brother Ace was considering running for governor.
Following this announcement, Cebu Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III admitted that the former tourism secretary had spoken with him about a possible partnership but that nothing had been decided on yet.
The period for the filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2022 polls is Oct. 1-8, 2021. (PR, CTL)