Cebu

PJ Garcia steps down as One Cebu secretary general after Marcos endorsement

Ryan Macasero

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PJ Garcia steps down as One Cebu secretary general after Marcos endorsement

CEBU CONGRESSMAN. 3rd District Representative Pablo John "PJ" Garcia speaks to supporters during a campaign event on Monday, April 11.

PJ Garcia Facebook page

Congressman PJ Garcia, who supports Isko Moreno for president, steps down from party duties to avoid 'any conflict of interest'

CEBU, Philippines – Cebu 3rd District Representative PJ Garcia stepped down as secretary general of local party One Cebu after the group endorsed the candidacy of dictator’s son Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday, April 12. 

“From the start, I have been clear and consistent about my support for Mayor Isko Moreno’s candidacy for President, believing that he is, among the many choices, the most capable and best prepared to lead the country out of this many-pronged crisis that it now faces, and into the future,” Garcia said. 

“I am not known to abandon a comrade-in-arms mid-battle. And I am not about to do so now, in the few years left of my political life,” he added, reaffirming his commitment to helping Isko’s campaign in Cebu. 

He said stepping down would allow him to campaign and “avoid any conflict of interest.”

Mandaue congresswoman Lolypop Ouano-Dizon has been designated to take Garcia’s place as secretary general in the interim.

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Garcia is running for reelection unopposed this year and had focused much of his time campaigning for Isko.

The congressman said that he respects the decision of his party, but hopes they would respect his decision to not endorse Marcos, too.

“I respect One Cebu and its decision, just as I hope that the party I helped found, and have only the deepest affection for, would respect my choice and direction,” Garcia said. 

Anti-Marcos

Garcia had been vocal against his party endorsing the son of the former dictator for the presidency.

The reason why Garcia can’t support Marcos is personal. 

Last December 3, Garcia reminded Cebuanos in a Facebook post, if it had been forgotten, that his father helped lawyer for the opposition in Cebu during the 1986 snap election.

“I wish to remember my personal hero and the small role he played in the Anti-Marcos movement,” Garcia said.

“Thank you, Daddy, for reminding us. Continue to remind us. Visit us in our dreams to constantly remind us. Visit your children. Visit your grandchildren. To remind us. #NeverAgain,” he added.

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia hedged on announcing a president until Tuesday to try to keep the peace in her family and One Cebu, who had been divided over a presidential endorsement for months.  

The family endorsed Sara Duterte for vice president already last February.

Gwen was supposed to announce the endorsement and take questions through a press conference in Cebu City Tuesday morning, but the press conference was suddenly cancelled.

The official endorsement took place at SM Seaside Cebu during a covenant signing with the UniTeam Alliance and One Cebu, and comes less than a month before the national election.

The Marcos-Duterte tandem will have their first grand rally scheduled in Cebu City on April 18. – 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