EXPLAINER: Guv Gwen Monday publicly said she didn't think Sara would change her mind, she's 'no drama queen,' quoting the mayor, 'The ship has sailed.' Tuesday, events in Davao began to tell otherwise. And Sara's bet in Cebu: Ace Durano or Gwen?

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IMMEDIATE IMPACT. In Cebu province, local parties such as One Cebu and Ace Durano's PPP could be rushing to the drawing board and preparing for the final plan.

In Cebu City, there could be less fuss and flurry, as Barug is expected to support the national lineup the PDP-Laban Cusin/Duterte wing will present, whatever it is. BOPK will have to pick from among the groups opposing the ruling party: Robredo, Moreno, Lacson, or Pacquiao.

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WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Tuesday afternoon, November 9, the news from Davao City, whose politics influence decisions of Cebu's local parties, particularly on the choice of national candidates to support in 2022, confirmed what were earlier dismissed as pure speculations:

[1] Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio withdrew her certificate of candidacy (COC) for reelection as city mayor. She said her brother the vice mayor will replace her.

[2] VM Baste Duterte also withdrew his COC and announced his replacement by another candidate. He's moving up.

'SARA STANDS BY HER WORD.' Believers in Mayor Duterte included Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia who the day before, on November 8 -- when asked by Karen Davila of "Headstart" on ANC if she was "hopeful" that the mayor would change her mind -- said Sara "is no drama queen, stands by her word," and as far as running for president, she told the governor "that ship has sailed." Guv Gwen told Davila: "I don't think she'll change her mind."

If Mayor Sara would break her word, as political watchers said she might -- and it's now most likely she would, if she hadn't done so already -- Guv Gwen's way out is that her personal assessment would still stand if the mayor would opt for the vice president's slot, as VP to Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. The ship sailed "as far as the presidency" is concerned.

Sara herself, though, said "any national position" when she started publicly rejecting the draft. Skeptics said she'd follow her father's playbook of 2015 leading to the 2016 election. And it looked like they're right, six days before the November 15 substitution cutoff.

RAISED HANDS WERE FOR GWEN. The Cebu governor was asked by Davila if the photo of Gwen Garcia raising hands with Mayor Sara and former senator Bongbong Marcos during their October 22-23 Cebu visit show the governor is supporting the Bongbong-Sara/Sara-Bongbong team-up? That, plus the fact that Gwen's daughter Mayor Cristina Garcia-Frasco of Liloan has been serving as Sara's spokesperson.

On the photo, Guv Gwen, it was intended to show that Sara and Bongbong were both supporting her bid for reelection and not she supporting them. Not that she and One Cebu may not pick them as national allies but One Cebu would decide only after November 15. They'd get a consensus so that there'd be united backing for the bets they'd pick. The governor explained Cristina's friendship with Sara starting in the 2016 caravan the Davao mayor did in Cebu back in 2016. Davila didn't press whether that would be additional reason for One Cebu to support any national slate with Sara in it.

DURANO'S CLAIM. If Mayor Sara is supporting Guv Gwen, what about the claim of Ace Durano, PPP candidate for governor, that he's being supported by the presidential daughter?

Gwen told Davila that Durano, the former tourism secretary, had been going around telling the public that Sara is supporting him and is a major reason for his running for governor. The governor said Sara, during their Cebu meeting, told her it's not true, she (the Davao mayor) had not met Ace and agreed to the hand-raising photo to belie that claim. Bongbong just joined in.

Who is telling the truth? Would Ace Durano have done that, knowing that his claim couldn't be hidden from the Davao mayor and could be promptly shot down? Did he, a former Cabinet secretary and politics-savvy lie, knowing the risk of exposure? Or was it Sara playing both sides?

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