ONE CEBU ON ITS OWN
Former legislator to run for vice gov; One Cebu draws fewer mayors
The Garcia family-led One Cebu party will not align itself with a national political group, but may support a presidential candidate.
“It’s because we want to, not because we have to,” standard bearer Winston Garcia said at the One Cebu general assembly yesterday.
He said the party “can stand on its own,” even without the help of a national party.
Garcia, who will vie for the gubernatorial post in next year’s elections, yesterday announced former congresswoman Nerissa Soon-Ruiz as his running mate.
In choosing Soon-Ruiz, Garcia said he needed someone to keep tabs on his flagship projects on health should he be elected as governor of the province.
“My vice governor should be a good doctor and a good politician, has experience in legislation, and is from the northern part of Cebu,” said Garcia, who hails from the south, before revealing her to the One Cebu assembly.
Soon-Ruiz, a doctor by profession, hails from Mandaue City and used to be the congressional representative of the 6th district.
Candidates and supporters from all over the province gathered yesterday at the White Gold House in Cebu City.
Out of the 44 town mayors in the province, four incumbent mayors were spotted during the general assembly yesterday.
Ian Christopher Escario from Daanbantayan and Glen Baricuatro from Pinamungahan are both seeking re-election under One Cebu.
Liloan Mayor Duke Frasco and Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez will be running for vice mayor in their respective towns.
Former governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s daughter and Frasco’s wife, Christina, will be running for mayor in Liloan.
Ramirez’s son, Ricardo Rodulfo, will run for mayor in Medellin under One Cebu.
The province is dominated by the Liberal Party, with 32 mayors as members.
Two new members
But One Cebu gained at least two new members who left the LP.
Mandaue City Councilor Emmarie “Lollipop” Ouano-Dizon was announced as party’s mayoral candidate next year while her father, Provincial Board (PB) Member Thadeo Ouano, will be seeking re-election not under the LP but under One Cebu.
Dizon will run possibly against 6th District Rep. Luigi Quisiumbing of the LP.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, who is on his third and last term, expressed his desire to run for Congress.
Dizon said she may have shifted to One Cebu, but she is still technically a member of the LP at the national level.
She said she is inclined to support the LP’s standard-bearer Mar Roxas until One Cebu chooses a presidential candidate to endorse. The Garcia-led party is rumored to support Senator Grace Poe.
Dizon admitted that Gov. Hilario Davide III, LP Cebu chairman, was unaware that she would be attending yesterday’s general assembly.
In a later interview, Garcia said their slate is ready except for a few positions for Congress.
One Cebu will field radioman and columnist Cesar Albor as PB representative of the 1st district, and incumbents Alex Binghay and Sun Shimura for the 3rd and 4th districts, respectively, among others.
Incumbent Cebu 3rd District Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia and 4th District Rep. Benhur Salimbangon will seek re-election in Congress.
Former 3rd District Rep. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia will vie for the new 7th district congressional seat next year.
Trust and confidence
Garcia, former head of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), admitted that he is not good with politics and would need Soon-Ruiz to walk him through.
Garcia spent the last 20 years of his life in the corporate world, unlike his siblings Pablo John, Marlon, Nelson and Gwendolyn, and their father Pablo.
Soon-Ruiz was elected for five terms in Congress, representing Cebu’s 6th district from 1992 to 1998 and from 2011 to 2010.
“Thank you for your trust and confidence in me. I will be supporting him (Garcia) all the way,” Soon-Ruiz said.
While admitting that he’s not one of the politicians in the family, Garcia said his desire to make Cebu the premier province again has pushed him to run for governor next year.
“This is a call for a change in leadership and to help recover the glorious standing in Cebu,” he said.
What the present administration lacks is direction for progress, he said.
“Due to this lack of direction, Cebuanos are left dismayed and disappointed,” Garcia said. He said Cebu lost its voice and pride to “imperial” Manila.
Among the flagship projects Garcia has in mind is free health services for all Cebuanos in the province.
Other projects that he vowed he will push are the construction of a second parallel runway at the Mactan airport, reclamation of a 200-hectare foreshore area from Consolacion to Liloan to pave way to a new international container port, and a mass transit system from Danao to Carcar, among others.
“I hope this coming election will give Cebu a choice of plans and programs, not personalities,” he said.
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