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Cebu & presidentiables

For presidential campaigns come the 2022 elections, Cebu seems to be strategic. Key developments involving three possible presidential candidates transpired last week.

Our friend Tonton Antogop, secretary general of the Manny Pacquaio for President Movement (MPPM), bared in a Facebook post the president of their movement – the pretty Cebuana publisher of iNews.ph Noreen Tormis. I understand they are busy recruiting volunteers in Visayas provinces, Mindanao, and Luzon. But the senator clarified he is focusing in helping communities amid the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Then a lady lawyer friend sent a private message. They launched a campaign in change.org saying “I am ready for Leni.” I checked just now. The petition already gathered 35,791 signatures. A counter petition got more signatures - 62,776. However, I took a mental note of checking the veracity of the email accounts shortly. It seems somebody is ready with DDS troll farms. The trolls even descended on a thread about Khakie Pangilinan singing a non-political song in Wish. Let us see if an online campaign for organic support is more effective in persuading people than a paid ‘bastosan’ campaign.

Leni topped the 2016 vice presidential race in Cebu. But then, Digong also won in Cebu. The pro-Duterte camp marginalized the opposition in 2019.

Finally, I learned about meetings of personalities identified with the Association of Political Operators (APO) with political players in Cebu. The group formed last year in Davao City and decided to support Davao City Sara Duterte-Carpio. The core group of a national grassroots movement also had a conference in Cebu City. They will be campaigning for the presidential daughter.

Gov. Garcia

Politically sensitive Cebuanos are watching Gov. Garcia. Will she, as expected by observers, support Inday Sara? Will other presidentiables support a potential rival for the governorship? Or, like the presidential run of FPJ in 2004, will they decide on mere parallel movements in Cebu? I learned that a self-styled political operator insisted: a presidentiable could win even without a bet for governor.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao was supposed to give out relief goods for Cebuano communities in Mandaue and Toledo cities early January 2021. However, this was cancelled at the last moment. The official announcement was because of the local rise in Covid-19 cases. However, some quarters said both Sara and Gwen did not like the support of some local mayors for the senator.

JHO 

Condolence to the family of Sen. John H. Osmeña especially his only son John-john. I will write a mouthful in next week’s column.

(Emmanuel ‘Anol’ Mongaya is co-founder and director for strategic PR of PRWorks Inc. He is also a member of the Political Officers League of the Philippines or POLPhil. DM him @anol_cebu)