MANILA, Philippines - First, it was the Revillas of Cavite. Then came the Estradas of Laguna.
This time President Aquino set his sights on suspended Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, who continues to cling to her post despite the Chief Executive’s order in December 2012 that suspended her for six months in connection with an administrative case for withholding government funds.
Aquino made the remark last Tuesday during the proclamation rally of the Liberal Party in Talisay City, Cebu where he introduced Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, who is acting governor and a sister of Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, as a genuine leader in public service.
“We salute Agnes who does not cling to her post and does her duty rather than resort to drama,” Aquino said in Filipino, an obvious swipe at Garcia who is still challenging the suspension order.
Magpale is seeking re-election as vice governor. Her running mate is lawyer Hilario Davide III, son of retired chief justice Hilario Jr. who served as Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman during the term of the late President Corazon Aquino and became Supreme Court justice in 1992.
Both will be running under the ruling Liberal Party, where Aquino sits as chairman.
Malacañang’s suspension order stemmed from an administrative case filed against Garcia in 2010 by the late Cebu Vice Gov. Greg Sanchez who had accused Garcia of usurpation of authority and cutting the budget of his office.
Aquino said Davide – who lost to Garcia in the May 2010 gubernatorial polls – will be pushing and continuing the reforms his administration has achieved for more than two years.
“He will not stomach the wrongdoings, he will not be tempted by wealth or power and he will not hole up at the capitol to evade responsibility. With Junjun Davide, we will surely get rid of the crooked and right the wrong,” Aquino added.
Garcia dropped then defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro – a second cousin of Aquino – as Lakas’ presidential candidate in the May 2010 presidential elections, to favor the tandem of Aquino and ex-senator Manuel Roxas II who both won in Cebu.
During the LP proclamation rally in Imus City in Cavite last Feb. 7, Aquino – who enjoys high popularity ratings – also took a swipe at the Revilla clan when he told the crowd not to count on the luck that amulets might give to the people.
It was seen as an attack on the family, including the patriarch former senator Ramon Revilla Sr., whose movie persona usually possesses amulets.
The elder Revilla had passed the tradition to his son, incumbent Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
Aquino did the same thing last Feb. 15 in San Pablo City, Laguna where he hit the nephew of former President Joseph Estrada – Laguna Gov. Emilio Ramon “ER” Ejercito – a character actor known for his anti-hero roles, for being late at flag ceremony.
He made the remarks as he pitched for the candidacy of incumbent Laguna Rep. Edgar San Luis, an LP member who will be running for governor in the May 13 midterm elections.
The three provinces of Cavite, Laguna and Cebu are known to be vote-rich provinces.
Meanwhile, the senatorial candidates of Team PNoy will arrive in Bacolod City tomorrow to start their campaign sorties in Negros Occidental.
LP campaign manager Sen. Franklin Drilon, who recently attended a mass wedding in Bacolod, said President Aquino will not be able to attend the rally but most of Team PNoy are expected to arrive. – With Danny Dangcalan