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Turnaround choice

Completing a full nine-year cycle as governor of Cebu speaks of her influence over the province.

Advancing to the national arena seems a logical next step. Other Cebuanos have done it. For many years the Senate had two true-blue Cebuanos in its powerful halls , both of them Osmeñas.

So why not Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia as Senator Garcia?

She’s certainly been building up exposure for it by travelling around the country, gracing festivals from the Ilocos to the recent Kadawyan Festival in Davao City.

She even took out full color newspaper ads in broadsheets to greet the Iglesia ni Cristo on its anniversary, to stay on their good side.

Her ratings have improved, but it remains a big gamble to guess the sentiments of a national electorate which shifts ever so quickly for a newcomer.

Talk has revived that Garcia is coming to terms with a pragmatic scenario that a Senate campaign is expensive, uphill and with no guarantee of election.

On the other hand, a hometown win, like the empty 3rd district congressional seat warmed by her brother Rep. Pablo John Garcia, would be effortless.

Gwen’s friendly “hi and hello” to reporters at the Capitol yesterday didn’t say much.

She avoided responding directly to questions about her reported “cold feet” about a full blown Senate campaign that would have her scrambling for a berth in 12 seats.

It’s not typical of the governor to stay quiet about a project she feels passionately about — and the dream of being the first Cebuana senator is certainly a high personal priority.

Perhaps the knowing smile is the prelude to a turnaround made in the best possible light.

What could be more affirming that having a wave of Cebu mayors clamor for her to “stay home”, to hear them say she is too valuable in the province to be released from local duties?

We would not be surprised in the least if the announcement comes like an anointing of a political savior.

Consider the loss of key members of One Cebu to the Liberal Party, starting with the exit of well-funded 6th district Rep. Luis Quisumbing, and the broken alliance with the Bakud party’s Ramonito Durano and Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, to the change in the balance of majority power in a Provincial Board that used to be unquestionably pro-Garcia in all its decisions.

It certainly looks like the homefront of One Cebu needs serious reinforcement.

Her brother, Pablo John, who is running for governor, a fast-paced, detail-oriented executive post that is a far cry from the legislative role he’s been trained for and excels in, knows Gwen’s value as a political heavyweight in Cebu’s direct orbiit.

“She can focus on Cebu,” he told reporters, while leaving room for his eldest sister to command the lay of the land.

The choice remains hers to make.

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