Vidal cautions Gwen on 2013 Senate runBy Ador Vincent Mayol
Cebu Daily News
With charges leveled against her in relation to the Capitol’s Balili property purchase, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia got some political advice and even health concern from retired Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
“I was telling her that (if) she chooses to run for a national post, she should remember that she’s not so well known,” the 82-year-old prelate said. Vidal said the governor should work towards her political aspirations step by step.
“So if she does that slowly then perhaps she would be more popular, especially in the province. But in a nationwide (level) I do not know,” Vidal told reporters at his residence at Sto. Nino Village in barangay Banilad, Cebu City.
The governor was included in the senatorial line-up of the United Nationalists’ Alliance (UNA) party.
Vidal said he noticed that Garcia was “slimmer” in recent days.
“I noticed that when she attended our launching (of the 100-day countdown to the canonization of Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod), she was a little slimmer. I asked her what happened to you? She just smiled,” Vidal said.
Vidal said Garcia visited him in his residence sometime January or February this year.
Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, in a phone interview, said Garcia’s chance of securing a seat in the Senate is still possible.
Magpale said the governor’s rankings have improved in different survey results.
“The period for the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy is still approaching but she (Garcia) has improved her ranking. She can still catch up,” she said.
Garcia said she found it encouraging that her rankings had improved even if she hadn’t kicked off her campaign yet.
The SWS survey placed Governor Garcia at the 26th spot among 44 possible senatorial aspirants.
She ranked 32nd in the Pulse Asia Survey. Garcia said she used to rank on the 45th spot in the survey.
Businessman-turned-whistleblower Crisologo Saavedra believed Garcia won’t win as senator.
“It is an option to run. (But) I don’t think she (Garcia) will be successful. She will really lose,” Saavedra told Cebu Daily News.
He cited the recent charges filed against Garcia before the Sandiganbayan over the irregular purchase of 24.7 hectares of beach front property in Naga City, south Cebu worth P98.9 million.
A government survey showed that the Balili roperty turned out to be mostly underwater or classified as coastal timberland.
“People will not believe her anymore because of her track record. The bottom line is the Balili case,” Saavedra said.
Garcia is facing charges of two counts of graft and illegal use of public funds in relation to the Balili lot fiasco.
Cardinal Vidal hopes that the truth behind the Balili lot fiasco will be revealed.
“Let the truth come out. If the accusations are false, then it will just fall down,” Vidal said.
Garcia welcomed Vidal’s statement, saying the retired archbishop is “a man of truth.”
“The cardinal has always been a man of truth. I have always also subscribed to the saying that the truth shall set us free and all falsehood will be swept away,” she said.
Garcia also said she was touched by Vidal’s concern on her weight. “I was also assured always of his prayers and that I really, really valued,” she said. With Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus