Influential Cebu local party no choice yet on presidential bet

Published November 27, 2021, 4:05 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY — Did Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. already secure the support of 44 mayors in Cebu Province?

As far as Cebu 3rd District Rep. Pablo John Garcia is concerned, not yet.

Garcia, who is the secretary-general of the dominant One Cebu party, clarified that the party’s allied mayors have yet to endorse a presidential candidate as he contradicted the pronouncement of her niece, Liloan, Cebu Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco.

“As far as One Cebu and allied mayors are concerned, no endorsement has been given to any candidate,” Garcia, secretary general of the dominant One Cebu party, said in a Facebook post Sunday, Nov. 27.

Garcia’s post was accompanied by a screenshot of a news item about the supposed support that Marcos received from Cebu mayors.

The source of the news quoted Frasco-Garcia during the regional planning conference of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP).

“President Bongbong in behalf, of all the 44 mayors of the Province of Cebu particular to the mayors of fifth district, as well as my fellow mayors in the Visayas for whom I am the national vice president, we hereby express our unequivocal support to you for your candidacy and we will do everything in our power to ensure an unequivocal victory in the coming elections,” Frasco-Garcia said during the gathering.

Frasco-Garcia’s pronouncement was also in contrast to the stand of her mother, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

The governor hosted the Governor’s Night on Friday at the Social Hall of the Capitol in which Marcos and his running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and LMP members, headed by its president, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Chavit Singson, were present.

No declaration of support coming from the governor was made during the event.

Garcia said One Cebu and the family are still weighing their options.

“Allow me to tread carefully. I need to learn from the mistakes of 2010 when we, as One Cebu prematurely announced our choice for president. Well at that time there had been not enough consultation, first and foremost amongst our family. I think you can go back to your archives and remember what acrimonious and divisive thing it was in the family because some members were not inclined to support the declared chosen candidate for President,” the governor said.

The governor admitted that the Garcias “have different inclinations.”

“I understand that members of our family have different inclinations, you know that. That is why I’m staying in the middle. I cannot prematurely impose a choice which would only divide our family further, after the lessons of 2010 my declaration is family first after all, if we agree as a family then we will be an even stronger political party as One Cebu,” she said.

Garcia added that the “national scene are still so fluid, that is why One Cebu has never jumped into the fray while others did.”

“Let us respect the party, and let us respect my family,” the governor said.

During the event at the Capitol, Marcos reiterated his desire to get the support of the governor.

“Inaantay namin na marinig ang matamis mong oo (We are waiting to hear your sweet yes) but I am only joking. Hindi namin gagawin sa iyo yun (We will not do it to you). You are our friend and we know that whatever you decide to do will be for the best for the Cebu province,” Marcos said.

Marcos’s speech seemed to have surprised the governor.

“That’s the very first time in all of my years nga gipanguyaban ko (that I was courted) in front of over 200 people over the microphone. Well I guess there’ always a first,” she said.

Garcia said the presidential bet that the party will be endorsing should be a unified choice “or else we will not choose.”

Frasco-Garcia, meanwhile, issued a statement on Saturday, Nov. 27, to clarify the declaration of support that she gave to Marcos.

“My declaration of support for the Presidency of Sen. Bongbong Marcos, I said in my capacity as President of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines Cebu whose membership consists of 44 Municipalities,” said Frasco-Garcia.

“I fully respect the process of One Cebu Party, which has yet to give its endorsement to a Presidential candidate. With deference to the leadership of One Cebu, my hope is that the BBM-Sara Uniteam would be given serious consideration,” she added.