2022 Philippine Elections

Mayor of Garcia dynasty’s hometown in Cebu supports Robredo

Ryan Macasero

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Mayor of Garcia dynasty’s hometown in Cebu supports Robredo

CEBU MAYORS. San Remigio town Mayor Mar Martinez and Dumanjug Mayor Gungun Gica support Leni Robredo for president.

Facebook pages of Gungun Gica and Mar Martinez

The Garcia family traces its roots to Dumanjug, Cebu. Its Mayor Gungun Gica says he's supporting Vice President Leni Robredo's presidential bid
Mayor of Garcia dynasty’s hometown in Cebu supports Robredo

CEBU, Philippines – At the heart of the Garcia dynasty’s bailiwick in southwestern Cebu, at least one mayor will not be supporting the presidential bid of Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the bet of his local party One Cebu.  

Dumanjug Mayor Gungun Gica declared on Thursday, April 21, that he would support vice president Leni Robredo despite his party president and Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia choosing Marcos as her president.

“I am for Gwen and I love and admire my governor. I will always be with her and support her because I believe she is the best governor and leader for our province,” Gica said on a Facebook post, which went online around the same time as Robredo’s grand rally in Mandaue City, Cebu.

Gica was also one of the local chief executives Robredo thanked during the grand rally.

The town mayor explained that he’ll still support Garcia for governor, but chooses Robredo as his president. 

“But for president I will have to follow my heart and my conscience. That is why I’m going to support Leni, and as your mayor I will respect your choice if you will vote for BBM because Gov. Gwen is with BBM,” Gica said.

Dumanjug is the town where the Garcia family is originally from and is an area where the ruling One Cebu party is dominant. 

Earlier in April, the Garcia family-led One Cebu sealed an alliance with the dictator’s son Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte’s “UniTeam.”

The Marcos-Duterte tandem also came to Cebu to hold a rally for supporters in the province last April 18

Mayor of Garcia dynasty’s hometown in Cebu supports Robredo

Dumanjug has a voting population of about 36,000 voters. 

Gica also joked that if he didn’t support Robredo, his mother would “disown him.” 

The other Cebu mayor supporting Robredo’s bid is San Remigio’s Mar Martinez. San Remigio is about four hours north of Dumanjug town. 

Martinez cites Robredo’s help in putting up a public mental health facility in his town as one reason he is supporting the president.  

San Remigio is a seaside town of 65,000 people and 41,000 registered voters.

Martinez was the first incumbent mayor to come out for Robredo.

With only less than two weeks to go before election day, the situation with local chief executive support is starkly different from her bid for vice president in 2016, when she was a member of the then-ruling Liberal Party. At least 90% of the local chief executives then were LP members.

Still, the vice president is optimistic. 

Optimistic ako. In the first place, ‘yung volunteerism nakikita ko ngayon sa Cebu – wala ito noong 2016 (I’m optimistic. In the first place, the volunteerism I see in Cebu was not here in 2016),” Robredo said, and called the passion of the volunteers unprecedented.

Robredo beat Marcos overwhelmingly in Cebu in 2016 with over 800,000 votes.

There are at least 3.2 million votes up for grabs in the country’s most vote-rich province.

But that the support she is getting now from small towns seems to be reflective of the thrust of her campaign message: that the new government centers would be in the fringes of the country. 

Robredo promised Cebuanos that if she were elected president, she would continue to bring the government to the people, even in places where most politicians would not visit because they had small voting populations.

Ito po ‘yung klaseng pamamahala na pinapanangako namin sa inyo. Pamamahala na hindi lang kami maghihintay sa Malacañang, hindi lang pupunta kami sa mga sentro. Pero mas malayo ‘yung lugar ‘nyo, mas pupuntahan namin kayo, dahil alam namin mas malayo ‘yung lugar, mas mahirap puntahan, mas kailangan ang pamahalaan,” Robredo told her supporters in Bogo City Thursday morning.

(This is the kind of governance we can promise you. A government that will not merely wait in Malacañang, and would not only go to the city centers. But the more remote your areas are, the more we would come to you, because we know that the farther away you are, and the more difficult it is to reach, the more you need the government.)

Aside from Gica and Martinez, Robredo was able to retain the support of incumbent Cebu Vice Governor Hilario “Junjun” Davide III as early as October. 

In Cebu City, the Osmeña-led BOPK (Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan) also supports Robredo, although they are supporting Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III for vice president. 

Last Thursday, April 21, Robredo held a massive rally in Mandaue City, where an estimated 150,000 people showed their support for the vice president.

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The true ‘One Cebu’: Robredo supporters show force in battleground province

The true ‘One Cebu’: Robredo supporters show force in battleground province

On Tuesday, April 26, Robredo is scheduled to return to Cebu for a third time. She will visit St. Scholastica’s College in Talisay City for the rally of gubernatorial candidate Ace Durano and his running mate Davide. – Rappler.com

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Nobuhiko Matsunaka

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at ryan.macasero@rappler.com