CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES- Announcing that “Gwen is back”, Cebu Governor elect Gwen Garcia thanked the Cebuanos for her victory in last Monday’s poll. “Mga pinalangga nakong kaigsoonang Sugbuanon, we have won. This is our victory,” she said after her proclamation past 11am at the Capitol social hall today, May 16, 2019.
Her loyalists and supporters including her relatives wore white t-shirts printed with “GWEN IS BACK #CebuEnRouteToNo1” which is a statement on where the province is going in the next three years starting on June 30. Garcia enjoined the Cebuanos to be with her in her goal to make Cebu as number 1 again.
“There is work, much work to be done. I ask all Cebuanos to join me in this massive undertaking. Join me with one voice, one heart and united effort, join me, arun atong ibalik ang Sugbu pagka Numero Uno.” At one part of her impromptu speech, Garcia recalled how she suffered when she was booted out of the capitol six years ago in January 2013, more than a month after what she called as “illegal suspension order,” on her was issued in December 2012.
Garcia entered the capitol for her proclamation in the same doors at the governor’s office that was padlocked to prevent her from reporting back to office then prior to the elections in May 2013. She won as congresswoman for two terms and decided to run again as governor, incidentally against the woman who replaced her during her suspension, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale.
She won and vindicated thus and so the eloquent speaker and good storyteller that she is, recalled the “dark month of December 2012,” the prelude of how police with high-powered firearms led by what she calls a “narco-general” forcibly padlocked the doors of the governor’s office on orders of then-Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas (Roxas ran as Senator in the just concluded election but is very far from the winning circle).
“We were no match to the Malacanang machinery and the Secretary of the DILG then who aspired to be President in 2016. We were no match against the high-powered firearms of the PNP led by narco-General Garbo and so they succeeded, they succeeded in thwarting the peoples will.” That was then and she won overwhelmingly against Magpale by a margin of 288, 000 votes. Garcia said her resounding victory was God’ perfect time of her vindication and the Cebuano’s faith in her to lead them.
“Until the right time, in God’s perfect time, the people regained that authority to the power of the ballot and with one resounding voice shouted out to everyone not just in this province but in the entire country that the Cebuanos have chosen Gwen Garcia to lead again this beloved province.” The Governor-elect was joined by her father, former Governor and Congressman Pablo Garcia, her siblings and children, among others.
Pablo John Garcia her brother was also proclaimed as a congressman to replace her in the 3rd district. Another brother Marlon won as mayor of Barili while her daughter, Cristina, was reelected Liloan town mayor. Cristina’s husband, Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco won as 5th district congressman against Cong. Red Durano, breaking the 70 years reign of the Durano’s in the district.
Among those present in Garcia’s proclamation were her core group of supporters called Gwen is Back Team, Magnificient 7, The Theresian Mafia and her running mate Daphne Salimbangon whom she described as her “wind beneath her wings.” Her elder brother, former GSIS Pres. Winston Garcia was able to catch up on time just as the governor-elect ended her speech.
The incoming governor said she will implement most of her effective programs once she starts office. Her patented “Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbu” tourism program will be relaunched along with the “Pasigarbo sa Sugbu,” among others.
Photos by Allan Defensor