By: Morexette Marie B. Erram and Jessa Mae O. Sotto, Rosalie O. Abatayo October 18,2018 - 12:54 AM

GWEN AND DAPHNE FOR GOVERNOR AND VICE GOVERNOR/OCT. 17, 2018: Cebu governatorial candidate, 3rd district congresswoman Gwen Garcia (left) with her running mate for vice governor Daphne Salimbangon show their fist after Daphne filed her Certificate of candidacy (COC) in the provincial comelec office.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has one wish for the province: Do not vote Gwendolyn Garcia into
office.

“Who wants a grafter for governor?” asked Osmeña — a remark Garcia chose to ignore telling
reporters that she did not want to dignify the issue “just for the sake of it.”

Garcia, a former governor of Cebu, faces perpetual disqualification from public office upon orders of the Office of the Ombudsman for the unauthorized P24.47 million project to backfill a largely
underwater property that was bought when she was governor in 2008. The case remains pending at the Court of Appeals.

Garcia, now 3rd District representative of Cebu, is seeking a comeback at the Cebu Provincial Capitol in next year’s elections.

She will be joined by Daphne Salimbangon, daughter of Cebu 4th District Rep. Benhur Salimbangon, who filed her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for vice governor under the One Cebu-PDP Laban group, hours before the deadline yesterday.

Accompanied by Garcia at the Comelec Provincial Office for the filing of her COC, the younger Salimbangon said that it was a last-minute decision for her to run as she only gave Garcia her “yes” on Monday night.

“I cannot refuse the offer to help a woman that I treat almost as a mother. The Salimbangons and the Garcias have always been good friends,” said Salimbangon, 45.

Salimbangon ran for mayor of Bogo City, Northern Cebu in the 2013 elections but lost to Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr. She again ran in 2016 for Bogo City councilor and lost.

Before the younger Salimbangon filed her COC yesterday, it was her father, Benhur, who was rumored to be Garcia’s possible running mate.

Daphne will be going against incumbent Governor Hilario Davide III who has bowed out of next year’s gubernatorial race to give way to Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale in a move to protect his allies in the province.

Davide hoped that with Magpale as the standard bearer, the Duterte administration will look kindly on their slate because “the President has a soft heart for the vice governor,” said Davide, a member of the opposition, Liberal Party.

The younger Salimbangon acknowledged that it would be a tough fight for her against Davide, Cebu’s two-term governor.

In an interview with Cebu Daily News, Daphne said that she will need to work double time to match the exposure and charisma of Davide.

Meanwhile, Magpale has formalized her bid to become Cebu’s next lady governor with the filing of her COC, Wednesday morning.

Magpale was unable to file her COC with Davide on Tuesday because her Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) failed to arrive until past 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Thrilling kaayo to kay alas 8:30 na gabii naabot ang CONA. So I asked if this was an omen nga di man kaha madayon, pero it still came (It was thrilling because the CONA arrived at 8:30. So I asked if this was an omen signifying that my candidacy will not push through but it still came),” Magpale said.
Magpale told reporters that should she be given the chance to sit as governor, she would continue her projects in tourism and education.

Magpale said that the graft charges faced by Garcia would be to her advantage in the coming elections.
Garcia, for her part, welcomed the competition with Magpale saying that the vice governor was a “most worthy opponent.”

“Every time I run, ako gayong nga gitan-aw ang akong kaatbang nga most worthy opponent (I always consider my rival as a most worthy opponent). I always run scared,” Garcia said.

“Ang matag tawo nga modagan, maninguha man sad nga modaog mao na nga maninguha pod ko nga mapahinumdoman ang atong mga kaigsuonan nga Sugbuanon kon unsa atong nabuhat sa siyam ka tuig nato nga kita ang gobernador (Each person who runs always aspires to win that’s why I will do my best to remind Cebuanos of the things I have done in the nine years that I had been governor),” said

Garcia, who was governor of Cebu from 2004-2013.
Asked if she was surprised with the sudden switch between Davide and Magpale, Garcia said: “Nothing surprises me in politics.”

Mandaue City Mayor Gabriel Luis “Luigi” Quisumbing, described Magpale and Garcia, as both good leaders.

“Either of them they are good people. I wish them both very well,” Quisumbing said.

Quisumbing, who is a member of the NPC, will be formalizing ties with presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) on Oct. 22.

Quisumbing said that they had yet to decide on who to support for Cebu governor in next year’s elections.

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TAGS: Capitol, Cebu election, COC, Comelec, election 2019, Garcia, Gwen, Gwendolyn Garcia, mayor Tomas Osmeña

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