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Binay allies with Cebu’s Garcia clan again

Mara Cepeda
Binay allies with Cebu’s Garcia clan again
(UPDATED) Vice President Jejomar Binay lost in Cebu in 2010, but he's bent on avoiding a repeat in May as he aggressively courts the province

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The One Cebu party of the Garcia political clan has once again committed to support the campaign of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

This was confirmed on Tuesday, February 2, by Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco, UNA president, Mon Ilagan, UNA spokesperson, Joey Salgado, Binay’s media affairs head, and lawyer Rico Quicho, the Vice President’s spokesperson for political affairs.

“This is the confirmation of what JV Bautista said last week that more local officials from other parties would be joining the UNA to support the Vice President,” Ilagan said, referring to a statement UNA secretary-general Bautista made when several administration allies shifted their support to Binay’s party.

One Cebu chairman Winston Garcia said his party believes Binay, who was mayor of Makati for 21 years as well as former presidential adviser on housing and overseas Filipino workers, is the most experienced candidate among all the presidential bets. (READ: 9 things to know about Jejomar Binay)

“We closely looked at Vice President Binay’s platform and I see his administration getting wide support from the private sector in effecting inclusive economic growth, the kind that is felt by the poorest of the poor because jobs that put food on the table are generated,” the Inquirer Visayas quoted Garcia as saying. (READ: The Leader I Want: Jejomar Binay’s to-fix list for 2016)

“If Binay was able to improve a lot of the poor in Makati, he as President can surely do more to ease poverty in the urban and rural centers,” added Garcia, former Government Service Insurance System president.

Cebu is the biggest province in terms of votes, with 2,722,288 registered voters for the May elections.

Binay lost in Cebu during the 2010 elections, when he ran for vice president against Liberal Party’s Manuel “Mar” Roxas II. In that race, he only got a little over 400,000 votes against Roxas’ one million.

The Vice President has since visited Cebu several times and even held UNA’s Visayas launch in the province in October 2015.

Binay flew there again on Monday, February 1, and forged the alliance with members of the Garcia clan, who ruled the province for 18 years until Hilario “Junjun” Davide III of the Liberal Party (LP) beat One Cebu’s Pablo John “PJ” Garcia for governor in 2013. 

Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia and brother Nelson won the 3rd district congressional and mayoral races in Dumanjug town, respectively. But their father Pablo, and brothers PJ and Marlon, lost their respective bids in the last elections.

Apart from the Garcias, Binay is also allied with suspended Cebu mayor Mike Rama, UNA coordinator in Visayas.

In a December 2015 survey, Pulse Asia put Binay as the number one choice of voters in the Visayas, followed by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Roxas.

Garcia said members of the One Cebu party, which supported UNA in the 2013 elections, also took into consideration the multiple corruption allegations being hurled at Binay in finalizing their decision.

“I and the majority of the members of One Cebu believe that the Vice President would answer at the right time and at the right venue – the courts of law – the issues that have been raised against him,” he said.

Earlier this month, Binay was booed in Cebu when he attended the Sinulog festival. His camp alleged the booing came from an LP contingent. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.