Supporters roared in approval when the Provincial Canvassing Board finally announced the names of Hilario Davide III and Agnes Magpale as the winners in the Cebu gubernatorial and vice gubernatorial race.
Davide led the count by more than 130,000 votes against his closest rival, Rep. Pablo John Garcia, whose defeat ended 18 years of control of the Capitol by the Garcia clan.
“I’m grateful to all my supporters, friends, and relatives who accepted the call for change in the province,” said Davide after five days of canvassing ended at 2:15 p.m. yesterday.
He and Magpale, partners in a Liberal Party-Bakud alliance, ran a campaign for honest governance that held up the last three terms of the Garcia administration as a symbol of fund misuse and corruption, highlighted by the Balili land scandal.
The slogan of the yellow-shirted party called for transparency: “Ang limbong sugpu-on. Ang sayop saktohon” (Fight deceit. Correct the wrongdoing.)
Of the 12 members of the Cebu Provincial Board who were also proclaimed, 8 belong to the Liberal Party and Bakud, ensuring a majority for the new administration (See table.)
Vice Governor-elect Agnes Mapgale, who will preside over the PB sessions, said she would reach out to legislators from other camps.
“This political exercise has been one of the most bitter. It takes a lot of healing,” said Magpale.
“I will reach out to them.”
Magpale dominated the vice gubernatorial race with 548,455 votes placing her ahead of businessman Glenn Soco who got 381,120 votes and her cousin Ramon “Boboy” Durano IV of One Cebu who received 180,939 votes.
As no. 2 official of the province, Magpale vowed to make the legislative department “transparent and independent.”
Meantime, the son of former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. received a total of 624,349 votes while PJ Garcia got 490,148 votes in the gubernatorial race.
The wide margin of 134,201 votes surprised even Liberal Party colleagues.
Total votes cast in the Cebu election reached over 800,000 or a high turnout of 80 percent to 85 percent, according to the Commission on Elections.
The Board of Canvassers also proclaimed Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas as the duly elected congressman of the 1st district, Wilfredo Caminero for the 2nd district and Benhur Salmbangon for the 4th district.
Joseph Felix “Ace” Durano, who won in the 5th district, was represented by his lawyer Edmund Lao.
SUMMIT, PUBLIC SERVICES
Davide, who lost to Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia in 2010, said he would start his term by calling a summit to ask stakeholders about their expectations.
“From there we can plan our actions based on my platform of governance,” he said.
“We have a list of things to do. I want to emphasize the delivery of basic services. I believe government funds should be given back to the people,” he said.
Davide, along with all winners in last Monday’s elections, will assume their posts on July 1.
“After the flag-raising on my first day at the Capitol, I will meet with the duly elected officials, the vice governor, provincial board members, department heads, and employees of the Capitol. I’d like to know them also,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of reconciling with political adversaries, Davide said, “Of course, the election is over. Let’s move on for the good of Cebu and the Cebuanos.”
But he said Gwen Garcia, who was elected congresswoman of the 3rd district, still has to answer graft cases pending with the Sandiganbayan and other fora.
Davide arrived at the Capitol social hall with his wife, Jobella and daughter, Nina Francesca, who all wore yellow LP campaign shirts. They were followed by former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. and his wife Virginia.
Magpale, a widow, came with her daughter, Energy Undersecretary Ina Asirit and granddaughter Ava. Her eldest son PB member Miguel Magpale came with his wife and son.
The retired chief justice, in an interview, said their family was grateful that his son was given a chance to serve Cebu province.
“We, first of all, thank God for this special blessing. I’m sure Junjun and Agnes Magpale will be able to deliver to the people a genuine public service of emptying themselves for the service of the people,” he said.
Asked if he had a role in the new administration, the former chief justice said his role was paternal: “I will remain a father. That’s all. I was not a candidate. I was not elected. But it was truly and completely because he (Junjun) was chosen by the people, elected by the people and is therefore the servant of the people,””
The father’s prominent endorsement of Junjun in the campaign, sometimes appearing in posters and TV ads alongside his son, was criticized by Garcia as a sign that the candidate couldn’t stand on his own. However, PJ Garcia also had his father, Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia, appear in TV commercials with him.
Junjun’s wife Jobella said she had “mixed emotions” about the election victory because she expects her spouse to spend less time now with the family, which includes three daughters.
“But this is a sacrifice for the greater good of the people. I will always be a supportive wife and critic. I will also remind my husband of his promises. That would be my role,” Jobella told reporters.
In the PB election, the remaining winners are Julian Daan and Raul Alcoseba for the 1st district; Christopher Baricuatro and Peter John Calderon for the 2nd district; Sun Shimura and Joven Mondigo for the 4th district, and Jude Thaddeus Sybico and Miguel Magpale for the 5th district.
Winners of the 3rd and 6th districts were already proclaimed last Thursday.
The provincial winners were declared after results from Dalaguete, the last town to transmit election returns out of 51 localities, were received by the Provincial Board of Canvassers headed by Eddie Aba, provincial election supervisor.with Correspondent Carmel Lois Matus