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Gwen Garcia joins Sara Duterte, Hugpong ng Pagbabago campaign in Cebu

CEBU, Philippines – Cebu gubernatorial bet Gwen Garcia hitched her wagon to Hugpong ng Pagbabago's (HNP), joining the administration-allied slate as they campaigned in Liloan, Cebu, on Friday, March 22.

The incumbent congresswoman is running for governor – a post she previously held for 9 years – under the banner of President Rodrigo Duterte's political party, PDP-Laban. She sat onstage beside HNP chairperson and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

Liloan was the slate's 3rd stop in its 2-day tour of Cebu, the country's most vote-rich province with 3.1 million voters.

Garcia is running against Vice Governor Agnes Magpale. Magpale is the standard-bearer of a local party that's allied with the Nationalist People's Coalition.

In Liloan, HNP forged an alliance with One Cebu, a Cebu political party that is backing Garcia.

Garcia was ordered dismissed from her post as Cebu 3rd District congresswoman by the Ombudsman for grave misconduct in connection with the purchase of a sprawling property for close to P100 million.

She faces graft charges before the Sandiganbayan.

Despite the February 2018 dismissal, then-House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez did not dismiss Garcia, saying the questionable purchase was made when she was governor. 

Members of Congress also say only they have the right to dismiss their fellow lawmakers.

HNP claims to have a hardline stance against corruption.

Garcia is not the only Duterte ally who joined HNP rallies in Cebu as a boost to their bids to unseat opposition Liberal Party (LP) candidates in the province.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella, who is challenging Mayor Tommy Osmeña, an LP ally, hosted Sara and HNP on Thursday, March 21. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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