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MAYOR DRUMS TENSION

Loot and armed escorts pass by Liberal Party’s ‘anti-corruption’ sortie

/ 08:28 AM April 03, 2013

A “corruption-free” Capitol was the key promise of Liberal Party (LP) gubernatorial candidate Hilario Davide III and his team midway in a four-day caravan that was briefly marred yesterday by a commotion in Daanbantayan town, north Cebu.

The LP convoy yesterday passed through Daanbantayan, where armed escorts of Mayor Ma. Luisa Loot waved their hands, as if signaling a media van in front of the convoy to stop.

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But the vehicles ignored the fatigue-clad men on motorcycles and went on their way north.

The mayor’s vehicle briefly passed by the LP convoy down the highway in the opposite direction, as she headed back to the town proper.

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Loot had just finished her own verbal skirmish with an LP-affiliated barangay captain who tried to reassume his post after having served a suspension in an administrative case.

Harsh words were exchanged, and an LP supporter who videotaped the encounter was sideswiped by one of the motorbike riders, but the LP convoy proceeded unaware of the village intramurals. (See separate story)

Residents interviewed by CDN later said Loot’s escorts, six men in fatigue pants and jackets, circled around them in motorcycles to intimidate them.

Davide and running mate Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale skipped Daanbantayan, whose mayor is allied with the Garcia’s One Cebu party.

The town is part of the 4th district, which is on the police Election Watch List Areas (EWAS) as a hot spot due to intense political rivalry.

Bogo City in the same district was the site of the LP’s first day rally since Bogo Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr. is a partymate.

Anomalies

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Alleged Capitol anomalies and overspending were the main subject of speeches of Davide and his vice gubernatorial bet Magpale in a Day 2 rally in Tuburan town on the west coast.

Magpale, acting governor for the past four months, cited a P.5 million purchase of 2,600 silver and brass medals engraved with the face of suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia intended for public school students, and the discovery of a Capitol warehouse full of notebooks and school supplies worth P22 million with Garcia’s name and face printed on them

“Gihurot ni Gwen Garcia ang panudlanan sa Kapitolyo. Dili musugot si President Benigno Aquino ana,” Magpale said. (Gwen Garcia exhausted the coffers of the Capitol. President Aquino won’t tolerate that.)

The LP campaign is banking on a call for change and good governance in Cebu province.

“Kinahanglan na kita og katarungan, kabag-ohan. Ang kwarta sa katawhan kinahanglan i-uli kaninyo as basic services,” Davide told more than 10,000 residents at the Tuburan plaza.

(We need truth and change. People’s money should be returned to you in basic services.)

He cited the poor condition of district hospitals, and meager budgets for agriculture, health, and basic services in rural Cebu.

Tuburan is part of the 3rd district, where Gov. Gwen Garcia is seeking a congressional seat and her brother Rep. Pablo John Garcia is running for governor.

Magpale, who has twice ascended to higher positions due to a sudden vacancy, told the crowd it must have been part of God’s plan for her to become acting governor because she didn’t seek it.

If she had not sought reelection in 2010 as PB member, she said, the “real situation” in the Capitol’s coffers would not have been known, referring to revelations about various expenses.

Second thoughts

Magpale recalled that she had second thoughts about running in 2010 because her husband was in poor health but partymates in Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya (Bakud) pushed her to run.

If she had not run, said Magpale, Teban Escudero or PB Member Julian Daan, an ally of the Garcias, would have been then no. 1 PB member instead of her, and would have eventually become the acting governor when Garcia was served her six-month suspension in December last year.

“Og dili unta mahibaw-an unsa ang tinuod nga nahitabo sa Kapitolyo,” Magpale told the cheering crowd.

(And we wouldn’t have found out what was really happening in the Capitol.)

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