Coalition sealed for a Davide -Magpale ticket during visit to MalacañangBy Dale G. Israel
Cebu Daily News
Following months of speculation, the pair was presented on Thursday afternoon to President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang, where Aquino promised to attend the formal announcent of the coalition in Cebu on July 7, the birthday of Danao City Vice Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano III.
Durano, who heads the Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya (Bakud), met with Liberal Party national officials in Manila including Secretary Mar Roxas to firm up the alliance.
“Yes, mao na gyud na,” confirmed Davide, LP provincial chairman of Cebu.
“I would like to think so (it’s final) because that meeting was to express to the President that we would like to form an alliance with Bakud Party and the Liberal Party. Basically we agreed on that and to announce it officially in three weeks. As to the details of the announcement, sabotan pa na (that will be threshed out).”
With this step, Magpale, who is Durano’s cousin and a member of Bakud, has rejected the invitation to be the runningmate of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s brother Rep. Pablo John Garcia , who has started visiting Cebu towns for his own gubernatorial bid under the One Cebu party.
The 5th district in north Cebu controlled by the Durano clan is a strategic piece in the provincial race.
Governor Garcia won her third term in 2010 with a margin of almost 100,000 votes against Davide. Of that number, 83,000 votes came from the 5th district, whose Barug party was, at that time, her ally in One Cebu.
Gwendolyn, who is barred from seeking another term as governor, has announced plans to run for the Senate and travels out of town more often in recent months.
The shift in political support of Barug to an election alliance with LP is seen as another blow to One Cebu, following last month’s defection of 6th district Rep. Luigi Quisumbing to the Liberal Party.
“As far as my candidacy is concerned for the governorship, I think chances are brighter now because it is really in the 5th district where I lost big,” Davide told Cebu Daily News.
At the Capitol yesterday, Magpale said Bakud was indeed hoping the President would grace the July 7 birthday of Vice Mayor Durano but held off giving more details.
“What I can confirm is, yes we met in Manila with Mar Roxas in the morning and the President later in the afternoon..it (the meeting with Aquino) was unexpected because we only thought we would meet Secretary Mar,” Magpale told CDN.
The meeting on Thursday took place at the President’s private office in Malacanang.
Present were Vice Mayor Durano, his son 5th district Rep. Red Durano and Magpale for Bakud.
For the Liberal Party, Davide was with Roxas, who is LP president and Secretary Jesse Robredo, LP executive vice president. Social enterpreneur Bam Aquino, the president’s nephew, was also there.
Bakud and LP leaders first met 9 a.m. at the DOTC office of Roxas with Robredo present. Before the meeting ended, Roxas called up the President to arrange for another one. Past 2 p.m. they all went to the Palace.
“The mood was so relaxed,” Davide said , adding that the President was eager to meet the new allies in Bakud.
The President welcomed the Bakud leaders and asked for updates from Cebu. He also talked about his recent trip to the United States and the United Kingdom.
“I told the President of our alliance and said ‘I wish you could come.’ “ said Davide.
The President immediately called his staff to check his schedule.
“He has an affair in Iloilo in the evening so we have to set the announcement in the morning,” Davide added.
The 5th district is composed of the towns of Borbon, Carmen, Catmon, Compostela, Liloan, Pilar, Poro, San Fransisco, Sogod, Tudela, and Danao City with a voting population of 286,238 based on the 2010 records of the National Statistics Coordination Board.
Magpale, the highest vote-getting member of the Provincial Board, assumed the post of vice governor last year following the death of Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr. from lung cancer. He was Davide’s runningmate in 2010.
Davide said that formal talks with Bakud began in November 2011 but the idea for a teamup came soon after the 2010 election.
“It all began right after the elections in 2010. There were already suggestions from partymates that it would be good idea if I decide to run again for governor that my partner should come from the 5th district. Many suggested Vice Governor Magpale after she succeeded Vice Governor Sanchez,” Davide recalled.
The Garcia-led One Cebu Party is counting on at least three of the six congressmen of Cebu province as their allies – the 2nd district of Rep. Pablo Garica, 3rd district of his son Pablo John Garcia, and the 4th district of Rep. Benhur Salimbangon.
Although he supports the Garcias, lst district Rep. Eduardo Gullas has his own Alayon Party, which was an ally in the last election.
They lost 6th district Congressman Quisumbing, who defected to the Liberal Party last month. The lone district of Lapu-Lapu of Rep. Arturo Radaza is not an ally of the Garcias.