CEBU CITY—President Benigno Aquino has endorsed the candidacies of Liberal Party (LP) members in Cebu, saying they best represent the interests of the province.
During a visit here, the President also said the LP will support no candidate other than those belonging to the party, denying reports that the province will be declared a “free zone.”
“Why would we declare a free zone here?” Mr. Aquino said.
“Cebu supported my family for the longest time and supported me overwhelmingly the last time,” said the President.
“The minimum that I want is that when I step down in 2016, Cebu should be better, not the same, not worse, definitely,” he added.
Mr. Aquino met with LP leaders and allies in Mandaue City on Friday in a gathering that drew up to 100 politicians, including LP candidate for governor Hilario “Junjun” Davide III, candidate for vice governor Agnes Magpale and Rep. Tomas Osmeña.
“As far as I am concerned, people who are representing Cebu will start with Junjun Davide, assisted by Agnes (Magpale) and definitely Manong Tommy (Osmeña),” Mr. Aquino said.
Aquino said he felt sure that his party’s candidates will not advance their personal interests and, instead, would work for the good of Cebu and the country.
The President said he could not support other groups in Cebu because these do not share his vision for the country.
“They will promote their own [agenda], which would be just like pushing for those contrary to what we have achieved,” he added.
Among Davide’s opponents in the gubernatorial race is Rep. Pablo John Garcia, one of the leaders of local party One Cebu, who is taking the place of his sister, incumbent Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Gwendolyn, who is on her last term as governor, is running for the House seat that her brother would vacate.
Gwendolyn had planned to run for senator under the United Nationalist Alliance ticket of Vice President Jejomar Binay but withdrew early after her party mates and relatives said local officials in Cebu had clamored for her to stay in the province.
The reason, however, could be her poor showing in surveys of senatorial candidates, according to sources in the camp of Binay.