One Cebu’s break with the United Nationalist Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay spells uncertain times ahead for the former Makati City mayor whose quest for the presidency is all the more hobbled by the slew of graft cases that await him once his term ends in June.
The break was explained as a “failure to communicate” between One Cebu, led by its secretary general and gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia, and the people surrounding the vice president including former interior and local government secretary Ronaldo Puno, now a political strategist credited for the victories of former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
It was Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who facilitated the meeting between Garcia and Binay because of his position as UNA point man in Cebu. That the mayor was determined to prove his contention that Cebu was “Binay country” meant having to forge ties with the Garcia family whose influence in Cebu province remains formidable.
The alliance didn’t last long because Garcia said One Cebu wasn’t invited to attend UNA sorties in major battleground sites in Cebu where he and his running-mate Nerissa Soon-Ruiz hope to capture votes to propel them to the Capitol.
There were speculations that questions over funding support also figured in the break but whether it’s true or not seems immaterial at this point. Garcia, who had been declaring that the Garcia family-led One Cebu party doesn’t need support from Imperial Manila to prosper, is unlikely to go back to an UNA partnership if only to stand by his contention.
And Binay, whose funds are mostly locked down due to the ongoing investigation against him by the Ombudsman, isn’t likely to produce enough funding for allies in Cebu or elsewhere around the country.
Rather than settling the question of who needs whom more, one asks if the break with One Cebu means Binay losing Cebu anew similar to what happened in 2010 and by extension losing his bid for the presidency.
In a press conference at a restaurant, the vice president echoed Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas’ line when he said that he will campaign directly to the voters rather than rely on Cebu’s political families to deliver the votes for him on May 9.
Though Roxas and Binay lost the support of the influential Durano clan to Sen. Grace Poe, they still have in their corner the Osmeña family—former Cebu city mayor Tomas Osmeña backing Roxas and incumbent Toledo City Mayor John Henry Osmeña for Binay.
It’s still a long way to go but one thing is certain – Binay and his allies in Cebu have a lot to work on if they are to ensure that the province will go for him on Election Day.
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