Palace: No free zone in Cebu

Posted on October 11, 2012


THERE won’t be a free zone in vote-rich Cebu because President Benigno Aquino III will support all Liberal Party (LP) candidates in the province, the Palace said yesterday.

Presidential Political Adviser Ronald Llamas issued the clarification in response to a local daily story (not Cebu Daily News) where he was quoted as saying that Cebu was being considered a free zone by the administration coalition.

The same report quoted Llamas as saying that LP was having some problems because the LP’s gubernatorial candidate, Hilario Davide III, is pitted against Rep. Pablo John Garcia of Cebu’s 3rd district.

Garcia of the local administration One Cebu party, is also running for governor under the National Unity Party which forms part of the administration coalition.

“The President will openly support all LP candidates in the Province of Cebu from Governor up to the last councilor. I never said that Cebu is a free zone,” said Llamas in a press release.

Llamas’s statement is also supported by the declaration of LP president and Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who said national party leaders will campaign for Davide and all LP candidates in Cebu.

“The so-called free zones have been drawn between LP and its coalition allies, NP, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), and this includes vote-rich provinces where local alliances seem to be a free-for-all,” said Llamas’ press statement.

The LP struck an alliance with NUP which also entered into a partnership agreement with the One Cebu party of the Garcias.

Garcia earlier said the free zone extends to NUP candidates and is applicable to One Cebu.

Davide also clarified that the President Benigno Aquino III didn’t declare Cebu as a “free zone” for the elections.

“The Garcias are misleading the public. There is no such thing as a free zone area. The lines have been drawn,” he said.

The President’s announcement also came amid the results of a one-month survey by a Cebu university which predicted that Garcia and Cebu LP’s incumbent Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale winning next year’s elections.

“The elections is still so many months away… Besides it’s too early in the game and the campaign period has not even started. What is important to us is our relationship with our local leaders and their constituents,” Davide said.

A survey done by political science students of the University of San Carlos (USC) was presented in last Tuesday’s 888 News Forum.

The survey results showed Pablo John Garcia winning in the second, third and sixth districts of Cebu with a 47.2 percentage. The survey also showed Davide III winning in the first, fourth and fifth districts or 45.93 percent.

Garcia’s running mate former Danao City vice mayor Ramon “Boboy” Durano IV only garnered 33 percent of the votes.

Davide’s running mate Magpale secured more than 50 percent of the votes in all of Cebu’s six districts.  The survey was done through a questionaire and interviews at home and on the streets.

Each district has 1,000 respondents or about 6,000 respondents in all six districts.

Pablo John, who was present in the forum, lauded the survey saying ‘he considers this as a positive sign of their candidacy.”

Magpale said Cebu-LP will conduct their own survey to determine public sentiment./ Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol and Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus

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