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Aquino: Cebu not a ‘free zone’ for 2013 elections

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05:58 PM November 30th, 2012

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By: Doris Bongcac, November 30th, 2012 05:58 PM

President Benigno Aquino III. AFP FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines—President Aquino on Friday declared his support for candidates of the Liberal Party in Cebu province.

In a press conference after meeting with Liberal Party stalwarts and allies in Cebu, the President corrected talks that the party would declare the province a “free zone.”

The fact that he was in the company of the LP candidates in Cebu was an indication that he and the national party would be supporting only these candidates, he pointed out.

“Why would we declare a free zone here?” said Aquino, who added that he needed allies in the government to help him implement the programs and policies of his administration.

Aquino said he could achieve his programs and projects only if his allies are elected to office.

He also denied talk about the party’s lack of operational funds.

“The issue on funding, I would like to leave that to the party president to discuss. And it’s not appropriate to discuss (the matter) at this time,” he said.

The fact that the LP was being run ably was an indication that the organization was well funded, the President said. However, he did not wish to go into detail.

“Kung sasabihin ko na may pondo kami baka sabihin ng mga kalaban na marami kaming pondo (If I say we have funds, our rivals might say we have too much funds),” he said.

Aquino also said he was determined to help Cebu.

“Cebu supported my family for the longest time and supported me overwhelmingly the last time. The minimum that I wanted to do is that when I step down in 2016, Cebu should be better, not just the same, not worse definitely,” he added.

The President met with the party’s allies in Cebu to “touch base” with them and to plan an LP assembly for their allies in the Visayas.

The meeting was held at a restaurant in Mandaue City at 11 a.m. Friday . It was attended by close to 100 LP allies, including gubernatorial candidate Hilario Davide III, vice gubernatorial candidate Agnes Magpale and Cebu City south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña.

Also in the gathering were Rep. Rachel del Mar of Cebu City’s north district, Rep. Luigi Quisumbing of the Cebu 6th district and Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano VI of the fifth district, his brother and former tourism secretary Joseph Ace Durano, the members of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan group in Cebu City and mayors of the different towns and cities in Cebu.

Accompanying the President were LP senatorial candidates Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Risa Hontiveros and Paulo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, and Presidential Management Staff head Rene Almendras.

The President stayed for about 30 minutes with local LP allies in a closed door gathering at the Mandaue City restaurant.

He came out of the restaurant to address questions from the media. After the presscon, he returned to the restaurant to deliver a brief message.

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