Bzzzzz: Samsam-wife switch still assures one seat for Gullases, boosts chance to get two... Ace Durano says he never claimed Sara endorsed him already. Both Ace and Gwen may end up having same bet for president.

·4 min read

Eddiegul print-marks

THE substitutions made Friday morning, November 12, by the Gullas couple -- involving the mayor's seat of Talisay City and the congressional seat in Cebu City's first district -- is clearly a political strategy aimed largely to win not just one seat but two.

On closer look, the idea bears print-marks of veteran politician and Gullas patriarch Representative Eduardo "Eddiegul" Gullas.

The House seat was already assured for the family. Mayor Gerald Anthony "Samsam" Gullas, who filed a certificate of candidacy for it, does not have an opponent.

His wife Rhea Gullas, however, is reportedly facing a bruising fight from Vice Mayor Allan Bucao, former ally of the Gullases.

Both Samsam and Rhea withdrew their COCs, then each filed a COC for the other's position: Samsam substituted for his wife in the City Hall race. Rhea substituted for her husband in the no-contest congressional election. The wife is spared the tough campaign.

The husband can campaign more directly and actively for himself.

Without the switch, while the Gullases would've been assured still of one seat, the congressional post, it would've placed at greater risk the mayorship of Talisay, the crown jewel, too precious a political bailiwick to lose.

Newbie Rhea is saved from a fierce election battle that would've been her baptism of fire. Instead -- to, ah, switch metaphors -- she is served the position and title on a golden platter.

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Was it false news?

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia told Karen Davila on national TV last November 8 that she asked Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio during her October 22 Cebu visit if she had endorsed Ace Durano for governor.

This was because Ace was said to have been going around telling people that Sara supports his candidacy. Apparently to belie that, the president's daughter, with Bongbong Marcos joining in, held up Gwen's hand in the favorite symbolism support among politicians.

The former tourism secretary, fully named Joseph Felix Mari "Ace" Durano, responded to Gwen's statement on ANC by saying he had "never in any of my 'pulongpulong' claimed that Inday Sara endorsed me already." Fake news, he said, on Gwen's allegation. Did he perhaps say it in a talk with media? If he did publicly, in whichever forum, there must be some record of it.

The cycle of allege-and-deny can go on and on unless an independent fact-check confirms one or the other. Did Ace, in a meeting with supporters or talk with media, say Sara already endorsed her?

News archives don't carry any such story. People must have assumed he was claiming support from Sara because of his repeated declarations of support for her.

WHAT ACE SAID. Last October 26, Ace Durano said he was still hoping the Davao mayor would run for president and was "keen" about supporting her and "prepared" for the bid. That was after Sara and Bongbong in their "coincidental" meeting in Cebu publicly endorsed Ace's rival Gwen. He and Gwen, Ace said, "are 'kaatbang' but 'kauban' (in) supporting Inday Sara's candidacy."

As to Guv Gwen, she repeated to ANC's Davila that One Cebu would announce its choice of national candidates after the November 15 substitution deadline. That, even after, or precisely because of, the public display of affection with Sara during the Cebu visit. As allies of President Duterte, the province ruling party wouldn't have to break away from PDP-Laban to back Sara.

Ace was named last October 2 as regional chairman for Visayas of Partido Pilipino sa Pagbabago (PPP), one of the political parties and groups that declared their support for Sara. But the president's daughter Thursday, November 11 -- after resigning earlier from Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional party she organized in 2018 -- took her oath as member of the national Lakas-CMD, not Ace Durano's PPP.

It would seem that Ace is more interested in supporting the Carpio bid for president than in strengthening his attempt to wrest the Capitol from Gwen.

Interestingly, Ace is supporting Sara while his running mate, Vice Governor Junjun Davide, is reportedly supporting Leni Robredo, with whom Sara is expected to collide for the presidency.

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