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The Liberals vs One Cebu

/ 07:44 AM July 24, 2012

Finally the cat is out of the bag. Provincial Board Member Thadeo Ouano has joined the administration party, the Liberal Party thus severing his political ties with the One Cebu Parrty headed by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.

All told, the political leaders in the sixth district are now aligned with the LP and are expected to support the Davide-Magpale tandem for the Province of Cebu in 2013. Ouano was the odd man left among the political leaders in the district as Congressman Luigi Quisumbing earlier joined Mayor Jonas Cortes and Board Member Arleigh Sitoy in the LP.

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But what made Board Member Quano leave the One Cebu Party? Thadeo asserted that he wanted to unite the Ouano clan as his father, former Mandaue City mayor Pedong and daughter Lollipop are with the LP. But many political observers claimed that the primary reason for Ouano’s transfer is political survival. The good relationship between the governor and the board member no longer counts amid recent political developments and has been conveniently ignored.

The governor supported all the projects of Ouano and as a matter of fact chose Ouano to run for  board member in the last elections despite the fact that the Ouanos were clobbered when scion Jongky ran for mayor against Jonas Cortes. In other words, Governor Gwen resurrected the political life of Thadeo. That is why many were astounded when Ouano left the governor especially now that she is facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan.

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This latest development is not pleasant news to One Cebu. According to Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy, Ouano leaving One Cebu is a big loss to the party. But I think transferring from one party to another is no longer a surprise to many. This has been the practice of politicians since Ferdinand Marcos dismantled the two-party system.

It will not be a surprise when mayors from the towns of Cebu will abandon One Cebu Party and join the LP. This can happen even in the 15 towns of the second district where the governor’s father, Noy Pabling Garcia is the congressman. I was informed that Board Member Willy Caminero who used to be the mayor of Argao town would challenge Noy Pabling for the congressional seat.

In the third district, Board Member Alex Binghay is going to run for Congress but I was informed that if Governor Gwen decides to slide down and run for Congress to represent the third district, Binghay may not easily give up his political aspiration.

According to my source, the Binghays are not dependent on the governor. If that is the case One Cebu will have two candidates against the lone candidate from the LP, Mayor Gay Yapha of the town of Pinamungahan. The fourth district will be a problem politically for the LP especially if incumbent Congressman Benhur Salimbangon decides to jump ship  and sever ties with One Cebu but so far Salimbangon has remained steadfast in his support for the governor.

In the event Salimbangon runs for Congress and joins the LP I think stalwarts would apply the equity of the incumbent policy to help resolve the problem. But Mayor Junie Martinez may not like the idea and may eventually join One Cebu just like what happened to some political leaders in Cebu. The fifth district is interesting because the Bakud Party of Nito Durano is now allied with the LP leaving the original Liberals out of the political equation and with no other option but to join the One Cebu Party of Governor Gwen.

But in my discussion with lawyer Gloria Lastimosa Dalawampu, she asserted that Danao City belongs to the incumbent Mayor Boy Durano and the combination of Boy and Don Durano is difficult to topple politically in Danao City.

The sixth district bigwigs are all LP members with Thadeo Ouano finally joining the administration party. Mayor Jonas Cortes has also solidified his hold on Mandaue City, bringing his political foes like former vice mayor Carlo Fortuna and former Congresswoman Nerissa Soon Ruiz into his fold.

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One Cebu will have a big problem in the sixth district especially in Mandaue City. The elections in 2013 will be a great challenge for the once dominant political party in Cebu.

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