Gwen tells allies anew she will run for governor in 2019

By Jessa Mae O. Sotto |June 16,2018 - 10:14 PM

June 7, 2018: 6th district Congressman Jonas Cortes (right) crack jokes to Gov. Hilario Davide III and 3rd District Congresswoman Gwen Garcia by saying “ Mas angayan mong duha” as they wait for the inaugural of the terminal 2 MCIA.
/Tonee Despojo

ALLIES of Deputy House Speaker Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia have reportedly been informed anew that she will “definitely” be running for governor in the midterm elections next year. Garcia, a former Cebu governor, made this announcement during a meeting attended by local chief executives of the third district of Cebu last month, according to one of the mayors who was in the meeting.

“Maoy iyang istorya kuno para gobernador ug dili na (Garcia said she will run for governor and not for) congressman,” the source, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter, told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview.

“Dili niya tiwason iyang third term sa Congress. Modagan na lang siya nga gobernador (She will not seek a third term in Congress but will run for governor),” he added.
Garcia, he said, is still in the process of determining who will be her running mate under the ticket of One Cebu, the party that the Garcia clan founded in 2007.

So far, she has been considering either 4th District Rep. Benhur Salimbangon or 1st District Rep. Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. as her running mate, the source said.

‘Respectfully decline’

However, both Salimbangon and Gullas told Cebu Daily News that they have no plan to run for vice governor next year.

“Wala pa koy plano nga modagan. Ang akong focus kay ang (I do not have yet plans to run. My focus now is the) 4th district,” Salimbangon said.

When sought for comment if Salimbangon received an invitation from Garcia to run as her vice governor, Salimbangon said, “Dili na madala og invitation oy, saboton na.” (It can’t be done through invitation; it has to be discussed.)

As for Gullas, he said he did not receive any formal invitation from Garcia to be her running mate.

“I didn’t. But if ever there is any invitation from either camp, I will have to respectfully decline. I still have so much work to do in my district,” he said in a text message.

Gullas said he plans to run for Talisay City mayor, swapping places with his grandfather, the incumbent Talisay City Mayor Eduardo Gullas.

“My grandfather and I already made plans that we will trade places next year. I will run for mayor. He will run for congress,” he said.

One Cebu has forged an allegiance with the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in the May 2016 elections and backed the party’s standard bearer and now President Rodrigo Duterte.

Since then, the administration party has gained the support of majority of Cebu’s elected officials, including the around 50,000 persons — from district representatives to barangay leaders — who took their oath as PDP-Laban members on Nov. 17, 2017.

‘Formidable opponent’

Garcia’s bid to return to the Capitol would make her a formidable opponent to Gov. Hilario Davide III, Garcia’s ally said.

“Sa among tan-aw, kay amo man ang partido, murag mas lig-on siya (The way we look at it, especially that she is under our party, she will be a stronger candidate),” he said, referring to their alliance with the administration party.

CDN tried to contact Garcia, but she did not respond to the call and text message seeking an interview.

Ready for the race

Davide III, who is affiliated with Liberal Party, earlier said that he welcomed the possibility of having Garcia as his opponent in next year’s gubernatorial race.

Davide is now serving his second consecutive term in office and is eligible to seek a third and final consecutive term.

He previously reiterated that he intends to have Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale as her running mate.

However, Magpale declined the offer as she said she will be retiring from politics when her term ends because of her age.

Magpale, 76, suggested that the governor should instead look for someone younger who can deliver services of the provincial government to their constituents.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the filing of the certificates of candidacy (COC) for the 2019 midterm elections will start in October this year.

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