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Analysis, Cebu Politics, News Updates

Free zone between PDP-Laban v. Hugpong-NPC bets in Cebu?

(Updated Oct. 23, 2018) — Decimated Liberals pale into insignificance; Hugpong-BAKUD alliance aborted; PA Dino absent during Sara’s Cebu visit, why?

The battle for governorship in the vote-rich Province of Cebu has become one between PDP-Laban and candidates allied with Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP). Cong. Gwen Garcia, the gubernatorial candidate of PDP-Laban, will be locking horns with Vice Governor Agnes Magpale. Magpale is with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), an ally of Hugpong ng Pagbabago. She is also with the local party Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya (BAKUD) of Cebu’s fifth district headed by President Rodrigo Duterte’s cousin Mayor Ramonito Durano. An attempt to forge an alliance with Hugpong ng Pagbabago headed by Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio of Davao City did not push through. After losing most of his leaders to PDP-Laban last November 17, 2017, the Liberal Party’s Gov. Junjun Davide has agreed to slide down and run for vice governor. Magpale is his gubernatorial bet. This also signifies the slide of the Liberal Party to political insignificance in Cebu.
PDP-Laban oath taking in Cebu. Dino, Alvarez
PDP-LABAN OATH TAKING/NOV. 17, 2017: House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez (right) shows to the new members how PDP-Laban members do their shake hands after the mass oath-taking ceremony in Plaza Independencia.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Dino and Alvarez

Perhaps, credit to this development goes to Presidential Assistant Michael Lloyd Dino and former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. They were instrumental in the mass oath-taking of former Liberals to PDP-Laban members. Aside from support for Garcia’s bid in the province, Dino likewise played a key role in firming up the powerhouse PDP-Laban slate led by Cong. Jonas Cortes in Mandaue City against Mayor Luigi Quisumbing even before the filing of certificates of candidacy. Cortes was able to unite powerful clans like the Ouanos and Soon-Ruiz in the vote-rich Mandaue City and the 6th district of the Province of Cebu behind his bid to regain City Hall from his erstwhile ally Mayor Quisumbing. A candidate of  PDP-Laban, he is committed to support Cong. Gwen Garcia, the administration party’s candidate for Cebu governor and Dino’s friend Glenn Soco, who is running for a seat at the Cebu Provincial Board. Dino, nevertheless, failed to convince former Naga City Mayor Val Chiong and his daughter Kristine Chiong to become the vice gubernatorial candidate of Cong. Garcia. The PDP-Laban gubernatorial candidate finally found her tandem in Daphne Salimbangon, the daughter of 4th district representative, Cong. Ben Hur Salimbangon.

Gwen v. Agnes

Cebuanos thought the electoral battle for governor of Cebu this May 2019 will be between Cong. Gwen Garcia and Gov. Junjun Davide.  But we were wrong. Gov. Davide filed his certificate of candidacy for vice governor while Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale is now the candidate for governor.
What led to the switch? The details are sketchy. However, I have access to sources who witnessed what happened from the inside. A key federalism supporter in Cebu was  overheard last week talking with a Davao-based official of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago over a speaker-phone. They discussed the possibility of convincing Vice Gov. Magpale as the gubernatorial candidate.

Hugpong-Bakud Alliance?

The next thing we knew, Magpale went to Davao City. On October 14, 2018, we read news about the efforts to ally with Mayor Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) and Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya (BAKUD) of the Duranos. It is my impression that Hugpong ng Pagbabago of Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio played a key role in the switch. The reason has something to do with what happened in Congress when the Sara-backed coup against then Speaker Bebot Alvarez happened. When Mayor Inday Sara graced the signing of Davao’s sister city agreement with Liloan town last October 22, 2018, however, she announced in jest her support for both Cong. Gwen Garcia and Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale in their respective bids for governor. However, Mayor Inday Sara signed a political alliance agreement with Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing who formed the Hugpong Mandauehanon Pagbabago. Note that Luigi’s running against Cong. Jonas Cortes, the PDP-Laban candidate for Mandaue City mayor.

Barug PDP-Laban

On the other hand, PDP-Laban insiders confirm the role of Presidential Assistant for Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino in firming up local support for the candidacy of Cong. Gwen Garcia. Dino’s efforts was particularly crucial in putting together the alliance of various political families in Mandaue City led by Cong. Jonas Cortes behind the candidacy of Cong. Garcia. Mandaue and the province’s 6th district is a crucial battleground in the provincial race. PA Dino is also instrumental in putting together the Barug PDP-Laban team in Cebu City with Vice Mayor Edgar Labella who is running for mayor against incumbent Mayor Tomas Osmeña. Curiously, Labella’s running mate is former mayor Mike Rama, who President Rodrigo Duterte has named a drug protector twice. Barug PDP-Laban also includes Councilor Pastor ‘Jun’ Alcover, a Duterte critic. Osmeña and most members of the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), meanwhile, left the Liberal Party in favor of the Lakas ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) of Sen. Sonny Angara. One BOPK member, Councilor Dave Tumulak got his certificate of nomination and acceptance (CONA) from the Nacionalista Party (NP).

Where was Dino?

Still, despite the political leanings for PDP-Laban, PA Dino was consistently seen during past visits of Mayor Inday Sara. But why was he conspicuously absent during the mayor’s recent visit.

Kilusang Pagbabago

As these developed, the Kilusang Pagbabago (KP) Visayas has invited key pro-Duterte senatorial candidates to its Visayas Congress this October 28, 2018 at the Cebu Provincial Capitol Social Hall. “The idea is to urge them to push the change agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte during the campaign and, when they become senators, at the hallowed halls of the Senate,” said KP Visayas Lead Convenor Doris Isubal-Mongaya.

About anol_cebu

Emmanuel Mongaya writes mainly about local politics in his Bisaya-language column titled PANAHOM in Superbalita. He also blogs and serves as administrator for “Maghisgot Kitag Politika Bay,” Cebu’s dynamic political community in Facebook. He is a member of the Political Officers League of the Philippines (POLPHIL). These he juggles with his job as Chief Digital Officer of PRworks Inc., the Mongaya family business.

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