“If the Liberal Party says, ‘Davide, run as vice governor,’ I’m willing to step aside.”
The unexpected statement of the LP Cebu provincial chairman in yesterday’s 888 News Forum was the first time a possible switch in roles was brought up.
“In running for public office, we have to make hard choices. If LP says, ‘Davide, run as vice governor,’ I’m willing to step aside for the good of the party and the people,” said the 47-year-old lawyer.
“It’s possible that Vice Governor Magpale or I will run for governor. It’s up to the party,” said Davide at the Marco Polo Plaza.
The LP has been courting Magpale, a 70-year-old widow, as Davide’s runningmate for months, a tandem that would bring in the strength of the Durano-led Bakud party in the 5th district and Magpale’s own pull as the highest vote-getting member of the Provincial Board in the last two elections.
Both have long track records as local legislators, Davide as a three-term Cebu City councilor and and she as the no. 1 PB member who assumed as vice governor after the April 2011 death of Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr., an LP stalwart.
Magpale has held off announcing her answer until Bakud party leader Ramonito Durano returns from his trip in the United States.
Asked earlier in the forum how negotiations were going between LP and Bakud, Davide, who ran and lost to Gwen Garcia in the last election, gave a similar reply: Wait for the party statement.
“We’re still planning. It’s a continuing process and Vice Governor Magpale is also dependent on the stand of LP at the same time with Bakud. We are still awaiting the official decision of the party,” he said.
Last week, Rep. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia announced that he would run for governor for the good of the One Cebu party and “reserve” the slot for vice governor for Magpale while elder sister Gwen would run for the Senate.
Sought for comment, Davide said LP is more than ready to face the challenge but was disappointed that the Garcia clan wasn’t looking outside their family.
“LP is ready to face the person that the other party fields,” he told Cebu Daily News by phone.
“Naguol lang ko kay wa gyud makalingi ang mga Garcia sa uban tawo guwas sa ilang pundok. Sila-sila ra gyud mudagan sulod sa ilang pamilya (I am just saddened because the Garcias never looked at other people outside their circle. Their family members are the only ones chosen to run),” he said.
Davide quoted the statement of Bogo City Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr. that “the search for the candidate starts with a Garcia and ends with a Garcia.”
Davide remained firm in his stand that he will not support Gov. Gwen Garcia in her planned bid for Senate seat under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay even if she’s Cebuano.
“You don’t really expect me to support her. First, I’m the chairman of the Liberal Party for the Province and LP will have its own lineup for the Senate. As chairman, it is my duty to the party to support the whole lineup. Second, precisely, I ran against Governor Garcia in 2010 because I believe back then and now that she’s lost the moral ascendancy to govern. That is why we find it hard to support her,” said Davide.
“As much as I want to, I can’t,” he added.
Cebu City Mayor Michael, who announced his support for Gwen’s Senate bid the other day, said it would be “treason” for other Cebuanos not to support her.
“I respect Mayor Rama’s support for Garcia,” said Davide, “but I hope he was just misquoted about the line, ‘Traydor ang mga dili musuporta ug Cebuano.’”
During the forum, Davide fielded queries about his upcoming campaign and what he would do if he was elected Cebu governor.
“I can assure you that we will go after public officials involved in graft and corruption. In fact, my platform in the last 2010 elections was first to review the contracts and transactions done by government officials,” he said.
Davide lost to Garcia, a third-term governor, with a margin of 96,341 votes but the LP’s standard bearer Benigno Aquino III topped the presidential race in all towns and cities of Cebu.
Meanwhile, siblings Gwen and PJ Garcia both attended the job fair in the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) and took time to shake hands with Cebuano job seekers.
In an interview, the governor repeated that Magpale was the top choice of One Cebu to run for vice governor in 2013. /Peter L. Romanillos, Correspondent