AQUINO ALREADY WINNER ?!?

05/02/10 - While rival parties intensify their last few days of campaigning for May 10, senatorial candidate Emilio “Lito” Osmeña said he's already rejoicing about Cebu's fortune under a presidency of Benigno”Noynoy” Aquino III.

“As far as I am concerned, it's over,” he told Cebu Daily News with a grin.

“ If I become elected (senator), it will come as a bonus. It is not as important as the fact that statistically, it is impossible for Noynoy to be overtaken. It's time to celebrate.”

Saying that his in-house survey only confirms what the Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia have reported about Aquino's wide lead, Osmeña said “Cebu will deliver the highest percentage majority to Noynoy among the eight major island groups in the country. And if Noynoy is smart, he should plant the seed where the soil is most fertile,” referring to Cebu as a base of support.

“You know what that will mean for Cebu? Boom time,” he said, referring to Aquino's support for an “open sky” policy that favors tourism growth and “values” that reject corruption.

Osmeña said his backyard survey in Cebu showed Aquino getting “50 percent” of the potential 2.4 million votes at the early part of the campaign, a figure that he said has grown more since then.

Osmeña's own fearless forecast for Cebu's local race is a “Gwen-Greg” tandemn which has well-entrenched Gov. Gwen Garcia winning a reelection against his own endorsed bet, Hilario “Junjun” Davide III , and a second term for Vice Gov. Greg Sanchez Jr., a man Lito despises, but says is shrewd enough to junk Davide, in the Liberal Party in areas where a solo victory is easy to achieve.

He said the congressional races would favor incumbents: re-electionists Eduardo Gullas (1st district), Pablo Garcia (2nd district), Pablo John Garcia (3rd district), Benhur Salimbangon (4th district) and Ramon “Red” Durano VI (5th district) with incumbent Lapu-Lapu Mayor Arturto Radaza winning the lone district seat of Lapu-Lapu and newcomer Luigi Quisumbing in the 6th district.

Meanwhile, administration standard bearer Gilberto Teodoro Jr. basked in yet another Lakas-Kampi CMD show of party support with the signing of a “Cebu Declaration” by at least 168 congressmen and 57 governors at the Marco Polo Plaza in Cebu City.

Lanao del Norte Gov. Khalid Dimaporo read the “pledge of commitment.”

“No other candidate for president comes close to Secretary Teodoro in his keen grasp of issues of our people and the programs to achieve the goals he seeks in the shortest possible time to benefit the greatest number of Filipnos in this generation,” it said in part.

Cheers of “Sulong Gibo” (Go forward Gibo) and “Daog na!”(We've already won) greeted Toedoro during his meeting with “green” supporters, led by Gov. Gwen Garcia.

Despite his fourth place spot in national polls, his allies were confident of victory.

“I'm claiming victory (for Teodoro),” said Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa, acting chair of the Lakas-Kampi CMD.

“Gibo will be the next President of the Republic of the Philippines,” she told reporters.

Governor Garcia announced during the gathering that missionary Emma de Guzman in Canada composed a nine-day novena starting yesterday for a clean honest election. Novena booklets in green pouches were distributed.

About 300 supporters attended the convention in the hotel, including Dinagat Island Mayor Ruben Ecleo Jr. who is facing a murder trial for the 2002 killing of his wife in Cebu and Maguindanao gubernatorial candidate Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu.


NOBLE GWEN

At the CDN newsroom, where Osmeña visited yesterday, the independent senate bet said he admired Governor Garcia for standing by Teodoro even as he predicted Teodoro would lose “misserably”.

“I am certain that Gwen is very sincere and allow me to compliment her for her very noble, in her insisting to support Gibo,” he said.

But he said the promise of “1 million votes” in Cebu for Gibo, made by her brother, Rep. Pablo John Garcia was impossible.

“The mayors know who the next president will be,” said Osmena.

For his own low-key campaign, the former Cebu governor said he expects to finish in 7th or 8th place in the 12-slot Senate race.

He said his name ranked only 24th in national surveys, unlike cousin former senator Serge Osmeña, because he placed TV and radio ads only a few days after the start of the national campaign season.

He said he has spent heavily on TV ads, but didn't once stand on a rally stage for a speech or spend a night away from his home in Cebu City.

Osmena said he is already looking ahead to what work is needed in the Senate for him and his cousin, Serge.

“That is where most of my time is occupied. What necesasry legislation he may need in order to hasten what I feel the direction of this country should be.”

Osmena said he hopes Aquino wil direct the country towards growth as a “services economy” and an “open door to investments” because “we cannot be an industrial nation” for lack of space, manpower requirements and global competition.

“You know what that will mean for Cebu? Boom time for Cebu,” he said.

He said Aquino should focus on planning the reforms that his administration would implement instead of going after opponents.

“I think the Liberal Party should focus on moving forward.... Let's not waste our time for looking skeletons on the closet.”

“I already won. Im' almost 99 percent sure that I already won. The reason why I'm involved here out of retirement is because I wanted Noynoy to be president of this republic. I am willing to bet my soul that he will be,” said Osmeña. /with Ador Mayol and Jhunnex Napallacan (CebuDailyNews)

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