Cebu’s Zona Libre: Who has the advantage?
If Davide, a loyal LP member, ran for governor, Inday Sara would have not declared Cebu a free zone. But with Magpale, a relative of the Dutertes, it would be a different story.
The Cebu’s gubernatorial race is a battle royale between two strong and undefeated women in the field of politics.
Congresswoman Gwendolyn Garcia and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale are both seasoned politicians and experienced public servants.
Congressman Pablo John Garcia’s defeat in the 2013 gubernatorial race against Governor Hilario Davide III can be perceived as Gwen’s defeat too, considering that she was the sitting governor at that time. She failed to let her brother succeed her in the Capitol.
At that time, even if Gwen ran for governor, she would still lose to Davide.
The battle in 2013 was far different from 2010 when she won over Davide by a slim margin.
In 2010, Davide’s Liberal Party (LP) was not yet so powerful.
But in 2013, the LP became very, very powerful as its leader, then President Benigno Aquino III was the occupant of Malacañang. LP used its political power by suspending Gwen and successfully demolishing her at the Capitol.
Such suspension was implemented during the entire campaign period.
Vice Governor Magpale, an LP but formerly Gwen’s ally, took over Capitol.
There was an additional allegation that the LP used the PNP to run after vote buying activities of LP’s opponents.
If such political formula will still be used in next year’s elections against Gwen, then she will surely lose to Magpale.
But will that scenario happen again?
It is far fetched in the present situation.
Gwen is the leader of President Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP-Laban in Cebu.
She also found a strategy to connect with the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago of presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte by forging the sisterhood of Liloan town and Davao City.
On Magpale’s part, it could also be in her advantage because her team will not be anymore tagged as anti-Duterte.
For a politician to be identified with the LP these days is as bad as a curse.
No wonder nobody wears LP’s yellow shirt now.
It is undeniable that Duterte is very popular today.
If Davide, a loyal LP member, ran for governor, Inday Sara would have not declared Cebu a free zone.
But with Magpale, a relative of the Dutertes, it would be a different story.
Cebu is declared as free zone with the Garcia vs Magpale showdown.
So far, Magpale will garner votes from her own 5th district, the bailiwick of the Duranos.
She also got the commitment of 2nd and 7th districts.
Garcia, on the other hand, will get votes from her 3rd district, 4th and 6th district.
The unpredictable Gullases in the first district are reportedly supporting Gwen.
I don’t know which risk the Cebuanos would take: the thought of Duranos lording over Cebu if Magpale wins or a repeat of the corruption controversies-ridden gubernatorial stint of Gwen.
The new breeds of Duranos, however, are perceived as kinder.
Gwen, on the other hand, is still entitled to presumption of innocence.
The intelligent Cebuano voters will decide.
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