PRESIDENT Benigno Simeon Aquino touched based with Liberal Party allies in Cebu during his visit yesterday.
In a press conference after the meeting, he corrected talk that the party would declare the province a “free zone.”
He said 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.
“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.
Rumors of a free zone in Cebu surfaced after Cebu 2nd district Rep. Pablo Garcia, who heads the National Unification Party claimed to have allied with the administration LP.
The Garcias belong to the One Cebu Party headed by Gov. Gwen Garcia. One Cebu has allied with United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Aquino said he could achieve his programs and projects only if his allies are elected to office.
He also denied talk that the party lacked operational funds.
“The issue on funding, I would like to leave that to the party president to discuss. And its not appropriate to discuss (the matter) at this time,” he said.
He said the LP was being well run.
“Kung sasabihin ko na may pondo kami baka sabihin ng mga kalaban na marami kaming pondo,” he said.
(If I say we have a a fund, our opponents may saw we have a lot of money.)
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 off, not just the same, not worse definitely,” he added.
The President’s meeting with allies had to do as well with plans for 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 5h 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.
He came out of the restaurant to answer questions from the media. Then he returned inside the restaurant to deliver a brief message. /INQUIRER