MANILA, Philippines – Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia admitted that she had a falling-out with younger brother and former Government Services Insurance System president Winston Garcia after they supported different presidential candidates in 2010.
Speaking to ANC’s Headstart, Garcia said she supported the candidacy of Lakas-Kampi CMD standard-bearer Gilbert Teodoro while her brother supported Nacionalista Party bet Manny Villar.
“In 2010, I supported Gibo while he supported Manny Villar. And yes, there was a falling-out. In this particular bid now and in the elections next year, I do hope that I will have his support. I still consider him, you know, he’s my brother,” she said.
Asked if they are talking, she said: “Not really. There is no need. There have been times actually we’ve been talking in the past few months but he has actually gone into quiet retirement. He has not involved himself that much in politics now.”
The governor admitted that she was close to then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo since she was a regular visitor of Cebu. She said that as governor, it was only proper that she pay respect to the sitting president.
“Yes. She would come to Cebu every month and I was there to receive her. When she was senator, we had met a couple of times and she had also done some good infrastructure in Cebu,” she said.
Garcia admitted that she has often been cited as bringing the needed 1.2 million votes to catapult Mrs. Arroyo to the presidency in 2004. She pointed out, however, that all 3 gubernatorial candidates were backing Mrs. Arroyo and helping in the campaign.
“It was a united opposition for Gloria,” she said.
Political party useful only during polls
Garcia, who is running for senator next year under the United Nationalist Alliance, urged the public to discern the dichotomy between a person’s political affiliations and actual accomplishments.
She said that even as a member of Lakas-CMD, she had very little to no support when she ran for governor in 2004. In 2007, she ran for re-election under Lakas while another bet from the Kampi political party, which was allied with Lakas, ran against her.
“There is always a tendency for us to confuse politics and governance. Politics is a vehicle in order for you to be given he chance to share your talents and share what you know and what you can do for your people. As far as I am concerned, a political party is only useful during an election,” she said.
“The point is – once an election is over, I turn my back on my politics. I turn my back on whatever political color or affiliation that I have and focus on governance. When I became governor in 2004, I started to really focus on delivering on my promises regardless of whether or not these people had supported me,” she added.
Garcia admits she is inspired by the example of Vice-President Jejomar Binay who rose from being the mayor of Makati to the second highest position in the country. She said many politicians are now looking at Binay as example on how public performance could lead to actual votes.
One thing that persuaded her to accept Binay’s invitation to join PDP-Laban is their similarities in background and experience in local government.
“We share the same experience in local governance. He saw what I did in the province of Cebu in the same way that he really performed superbly in the city of Makati and I think from that platform, we were able to form this kinship or bond. He truly understands what local governance is all about and how local governments must now be given a true voice in the Senate,” she said.