Serge says Cebu going for Noynoy
By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Cebu remains “Cory country” and her son, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, leads the presidential derby in the province by a mile, according to a stalwart of the Aquino camp.
Liberal Party (LP) senatorial candidate Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III said in a text message that the reported defection of congressmen belonging to the Garcia family to Sen. Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party did not matter much in the province.
“Noynoy leads by a mile. That’s Cory country. Watch the next surveys,” said Osmeña, whose family supported the late President Corazon Aquino. The family remains a dominant force in Cebu and is considered archnemesis of the Garcia clan.
In Imus, Cavite, Aquino shrugged off the reported alliance between the Nacionalista Party and several Lakas-Kampi-CMD representatives as “not surprising.”
“We are with the Osmeñas, the Garcias are our enemies. We don’t think this will have an impact because we have long expected it. Serge is one of our candidates, his relatives joined with us and therefore their opponents are in the other camp. That is to be expected,” Aquino said.
For example, Aquino said Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas (first district) had confided to him when they were both in the lower House that he was with Team Villar because he got to know him earlier.
“Nothing new, no surprises,” Aquino said.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who said he had secured Gwen Garcia’s support in his reelection bid, expressed hopes Thursday that the Cebu governor would endorse the candidacy of his father, former President Joseph Estrada.
“This is the last chapter of his life. I think he will do good,” said the senator.
Not quitting LP
Aquino said that Osmeña was staying with the LP and that he was just taking a two-week leave as the party’s campaign coordinator to focus on his senatorial bid.
He said he expected Osmeña to join his provincial sorties next month.
Osmeña issued a statement on Wednesday night to clarify rumors on the Internet that he was quitting Aquino’s team for its alleged misuse of campaign funds.
He said this was nothing but “a malicious figment in the imagination of those who wish that it were so.”
Osmeña earlier quit the LP’s senatorial slate because he did not want to be associated with former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto, who is also an LP candidate seeking reelection as senator.
“As the campaign draws to a close and an Aquino victory becomes apparent, more of these rumors will be fed in cyberspace to undermine our campaign. I have faith that our people will see through these dirty tricks, just as they have seen through the fakery being peddled in multimedia,” he said.