WITH barely two weeks before the filing of the certificate of candidacy on Oct. 1-8, all rumors and speculations about who are running for the presidency and for the key positions in the local level will be answered. In Cebu City, the first to announce his candidacy for the mayoral position is Vice Mayor Mike Rama. He is an early bird. However, Mike did not yet name his runningmate and his lineup for the councilorial slate and congressional candidates in the north and south district.
For the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), sources said the party has already finalized its lineup, with its outgoing south district Rep. Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa running for the mayoral position and Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President Franklyn Ong as his runningmate. Former Mayor Tomas Osmeña would be the candidate for the south district congressional race and Cutie Del Mar for the north.
But aside from Mike and Bebot, there might be a third party that will surface in the coming days. And it’s the group of Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) chairman of the board, Joey Daluz III. A source said that if the conflict between Rama and Daluz’s group will not be ironed out, the latter will be fielding his own slate with him as the mayoral candidate.
The source said Daluz is determined to run under his newly revived Panaghi-usa Party. But the source added that this would depend on the developments of the national politics. Daluz may run under Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte’s party. But with Sara’s declaration that she is no longer interested to run for the presidency following the acceptance of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte of PDP Laban’s nomination for him to run for vice president, Daluz may not also be interested anymore.
Well, let’s wait for further developments in the city’s political landscape.
Meanwhile, in the province, speculations are rife that former fifth district Representative and Tourism Secretary Joseph “Ace” Durano will challenge the re-election bid of Gov. Gwen Garcia. But Ace is still in the process of testing the waters so to speak, in the province political landscape by consulting the various sectors. There is nothing definite yet, his brother Red Durano, Bakud Party president, said. But in most likelihood, Ace is going there, a source said. Meaning, he will throw his hat into the province politics.
I am not an expert political analyst, but I can say without fear of contradiction that if Ace decides to run, it would be an uphill battle for him to challenge Gwen’s re-election bid. There is no question, Ace is a nice guy and has an admirable attitude. Infact, Gwen described him as a “worthy opponent.” But in elections, there are a lot of factors to be considered for a candidate to win and it’s not only on the basis of the politician’s personality. First, Ace does not have enough exposure in the entire province. Second, he does not have a well-entrenched and well-oiled political machinery down to the municipal and barangay levels. Maybe in the fifth district which is their bailiwick but not in the entire province.
Third, all of the seven congressmen in the province’s congressional districts who have political clout in their respective district are allied with the incumbent governor. Fourth, because of the pandemic and restrictions, Ace can’t personally campaign in the entire province. No more rallies and face-to-face campaigning with the voters. He would rely mainly on social media and traditional media advertisements. How can he relay his platform of government to the province’s voters? But do all residents of the province have smartphones and strong internet connectivity that they can easily access to the social media? If they do, are they willing to spend their data just to view and listen to political speeches?
Now let’s do some analysis. In the first district, Samsam Gullas, who will replace his lolo (grandpa) Eddiegul, will definitely support Gwen and all the mayors in that district who are all allies with the Gullases. Second district Rep. Willy Caminero is on his last term and Provincial Board Member Jose Marie “Tata” Salvador is likely to succeed him. Willy, Gwen and Salvador are now allies. So, all of Caminero’s and Salvador’s allies in the district will go for Gwen.
Rep. Pablo John Gacia, Gwen’s brother, controls the third district. In the fourth district, Rep. Janice Salimbangon, widow of Benhur will also go for Gwen. The fifth district will not go entirely for Ace because the incumbent Congressman is Duke Frasco, Gwen’s son-in-law, who will neutralize the Duranos’ influence in the district. Liloan will go for Gwen because the mayor, Christina Frasco, is her daughter. Rep. Lolipop Ouano of the 6th district will also go for Gwen. (This election will be the first election that Mandaue City voters will vote for their own representative, separate from the 6th district after the city was declared as lone congreesional district. We don’t know who will be Gwen’s congressional candidate there). While in the 7th district, Rep. Peter John Calderon just bolted to One Cebu Party together with his mayors.
Gwen’s critics said she has failed to properly address the province’s Covid-19 response by neglecting the needs of her constituents, the health sector and the frontliners. Who said so? Give me the names of some leaders or a leader that is prepared for this health crisis. The handling of the health crisis is not only the main consideration or factor that we should change by or elect our leaders.
In the 2019 elections, Gwen, who had just returned to the Capitol after her six-year stint in Congress as third district representative, got 887,290 votes against her opponent, former Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, the incumbent vice governor, who got 598,567 votes. Magpale, who hails from Danao City, did not even overwhelmingly win in her district. Well, we have to leave that matter to the best judgment of our electorate.