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Rama-Garcia tandem in 2025 polls: Is it no more?

Raymond Garcia was seen absent from the Team Barug Rama convergence on June 12

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | June 14,2024 - 10:05 AM

Rama-Garcia tandem on 2025 polls: Is it no more?

Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia (left) and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (right) in 2022 elections campaign. Photo from Mayor Mike Rama/Facebook

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The potential breakup of the Rama-Garcia tandem has been the subject of intense public discussion recently.

Speculation surged when Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia was notably absent from the Team Barug Rama convergence on June 12 at Plaza Sugbo, where the political team and its members celebrated the 126th Independence Day. 

Only councilors Donaldo Hontiveros, Jocelyn Pesquera, and Rhea Mae Jakosalem were present, which raised further questions about the current state of the alliance. Their presence, however, did little to quell the rumors surrounding the absence of Garcia, who has been a key figure in the partnership.


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Led by suspended mayor Michael Rama himself, the event attracted a large crowd of supporters. When asked about the absence of some councilors and Garcia, Rama expressed his hope that these individuals would still enjoy “freedom and autonomy” amid the ongoing political challenges.

“I wish nga naa pa silay kagawasan, and I pray they still have that kagawasan,” Rama said.

(I wish they still have freedom, and I pray that they still have that freedom.)


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In an interview on Thursday, June 13, Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia explained that his absence was due to a prior engagement related to his duties as acting mayor. 

Although he was not physically present, Garcia said he had been monitoring the event. 

He also mentioned that he had no issue with the rally permit they requested, and  that it was not impeded or stopped by him when it came to his office because it was “their right to hold such an event.”

“The rally permit, I said, i-issue gyud na (that should be issued) because that is their right.”

In the last 2022 elections, Michael Rama and Raymond Garcia, both Barug PDP-Laban candidates, led the polls for mayor and vice mayor of Cebu City respectively.

Earlier this year, Rama confirmed that Garcia would be his running mate for the 2025 elections. He made the announcement during City Hall’s Family Day celebration, part of Cebu City’s 87th Charter Day festivities at the South Road Properties (SRP).

“With pride, privilege, and distinction, with no fear of contradiction, Raymond Garcia remains my vice mayor for 2025,” Rama said.

However, on June 12, Rama teased his audience and hinted that Councilor Donaldo Hontiveros, currently the acting vice mayor, could be his running mate for vice mayor.

“When [former mayor] Labella died, Dondon immediately ascended as Vice Mayor… Cons Vice Mayor nana siya, so kinsa guy makapugong og ma full-fledged siyang Vice Mayor? (When [former mayor] Labella died, Dondon immediately ascented as vice mayor…he is now cons vice mayor, so who can stop him from becoming a full-fledged vice mayor?),” Rama asked the audience, who responded loudly, “Wala!” (No one!)

Rama then added, “Paghuwat lang mo, mahan-ay ra gyud ni tanan.”

(You just wait, everything will fall on its place.)

Speculation about political changes started when Rama was preventively suspended, which led Garcia to step in as acting mayor. 

Garcia began to differentiate his leadership style by favoring diplomacy over aggression. During Garcia’s tenure, notable changes included cutting budgets for major events and expediting progress on several projects and resolutions, which raised concerns for Rama.

As the political landscape in Cebu City continues to evolve, the public eagerly awaits further developments regarding the future of the Rama-Garcia tandem. This also leaves many wondering how Team Barug Rama is heading, especially now that the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the 2025 midterm elections in October is nearing.


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TAGS: Cebu City, Rama-Garcia tandem

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