Cebu mayors urge Gwen to run for 3rd district instead
Some mayors allied with Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia want her to drop her Senate bid and “stay home” in the province.
She may just agree.
No strong denials were issued from her camp yesterday amid speculation that she was backing off from a national campaign.
“While the governor is a prospect for the Senate with her talent, passion, and hard work, we are not deaf to calls for the governor to stay in Cebu,” Dalaguete Mayor Sesante told Cebu Daily News.
Sesante said he and others in the One Cebu party were just waiting for the right time to tell Garcia their sentiments.
Her arch critic Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district said he heard from other sources that the governor got “cold feet” and has already “decided to abandon her Senate bid.”
“Whatever, she never had a chance,” the congressman said.
With the October deadine for filing certificates of candidacies drawing near, Garcia has to decide whether to actually proceed.
She ranked in the top 50 of a list of senatorial aspirants in a recent Social Weather Station survey, a tight race for 12 Senate slots.
Garcia can always trade places and run for the post of younger brother Rep. Pablo John Garcia of the 3rd district, who is running for governor in 2013. This option was secured earlier in April when she transferred her voter's registration from Dumanjug in the 2nd district to the next town of Barili in the 3rd district.
Governor Garcia was traveling in Manila and the Bicol region yesterday for a speaking engagement and did not answer queries texted to her mobile phone about the speculation.
For now, she let others speak for her.
Her spokesman Rory John Sepulveda told CDN “One Cebu will issue (a statement) when it sees the need. As of now, let the KSPs (“kulang sa pansin” or attention getters) and the political 'geniuses' have a little fun... at least they will feel relevant.”
Pablo John, her brother, said he could only confirm that “several mayors and leaders of One Cebu (Party) have asked her to stay in Cebu because the party needs her and they feel Cebu still needs her.”
Pablo John is secretary general of the party.
He identified some mayors as Inocentes Cabaron of Moalboal, Nick Delos Santos of Alcoy and Sesante of Dalaguete as among those asking Governor Garcia to “reconsider her Senate plans.”
The three belong to the 2nd district in south Cebu represented by their father Rep. Pablo Garica who is seeking reelection.
UP TO GWEN
“We'll leave it up to the governor.”
“Ultimately, it's she who will have to decide where her heart is. Either way, I'm sure she'll take everything into consideration and decide what's best for Cebu,” Pablo John said in a text message.
Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy joined what may become a groundswell of calls for Garcia to run for a Cebu position instead in 2013.
Sitoy said she should consider her rankings in the latest surveys
The Cordova mayor confirmed that he is leaving One Cebu and joining the Liberal Party (See separate story.)
“Maybe, we can request her” to run for the 3rd congressional district in midwest Cebu, said Mayor Sesante of Dalaguete.
“I know the people from the third district will welcome her,” Sesante said, adding that fisherfolk, farmers and women share the sentiment.
He said Cebu's first woman governor had good chances to win the Senate race since “nobody in Cebu, at this point in time” has that advantage.
“But some sectors feel that the governor will be far from them (if she wins),” he said.
“We are requesting her to remain in Cebu. The election is still eight months away. Maybe we can request her,” he said.
Moalboal Mayor Cabaron said he too heard reports that Garcia woud no longer run for the Senate. She was sworn in as a PDP-Laban member recently and was adopted in the slate of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) led by Vice President Jejomar Binay and former President Joseph Estrada.
“I suggest she would not pursue her senatorial plans so she could focus her attention on Cebu. I can't say her chances in the Senate are dim. Her first priority, however, should be the province,” Cabaron said.
He said she could always run for the Senate again in 2015, building on her experience in Congress.
Her brother Pablo John dropped his own reelection bid for Congress to step up as One Cebu's standard bearer in Cebu province.
Gwen is restricted by term limits from making another bid for the Capitol's top post.
The brother and sister have been highly visible as a tandem in Governor Garcia's recent rural sorties and Capitol events. /Ador Vincent Mayol and Dale G. Israel