Popular TV show host Willie Revillame, movie actress and former beauty queen Ruffa Gutierrez and a host of other entertainment personalities descended on Cebu City recently to shore up the bid of controversial movie starlet and now talent manager Annabel Rama to represent the first congressional district of Cebu City. If we are to go by past elections, Cebuanos once again won’t let their love of entertainment interfere in their choice at the precinct. They are far more intelligent than star-struck fans that will support their idols running for any position, even for one above their level of competence.
In the 2010 presidential election, Revillame and his skimpily clad dancers went to the North Reclamation Area in Mandaue City to campaign for his pal, Sen. Manny Villar. The rally drew about 100,000 Cebuanos but when the counting of votes was over, it was presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino who won in Cebu City and the entire Cebu province.
I may be wrong but even at the height of his national popularity, Erap Estrada did not win in Cebu. And if I remember correctly, a former “King of Visayan Movies,” the late Mat Ranillo Jr., could not translate his popularity in the movies into votes when he ran for Cebu governor (was it against Osmondo Rama?). Well, it looks like Annabel Rama won’t succeed in changing the mind-set of Cebuano voters against being influenced by star power.
A recent survey by the University of San Carlos showed that 85 percent of the respondents from the first district of Cebu City will go for Raul del Mar, a minuscule 11 percent, for Rama, with the rest undecided. This survey, released last week ended the “battle of surveys” where Rama claimed her survey indicated she would win, while a survey by Raul del Mar showed he would win. If we consider these two surveys for being self-serving, then that by the neutral USC would show who’s really leading in the fight, if we call it that. The USC poll gives Raul a 4-1 lead over Rama which could result in a complete rout.
Raul said that he’s not letting the USC survey lull him into complacency. “I’m still running scared,” he said. I know Raul to be an indefatigable campaigner. Even when he ran unopposed for his third term in 1995, he still campaigned hard although he concentrated more on making his team mates won.
As a long time Congress Insider, I can say that Raul is one of the Cebuano lawmakers who never let their constituents down. Off-hand, I can name pre-martial law senators Mariano Jesus Cuenco, Vicente Sotto, and Sergio Osmena Jr., Batasan member Marcelo Fernan, and post-EDSA legislators Sen. John Osmena, Sen. Sergio Osmena 3rd, Senate President Fernan, Rep. Eduardo Gullas, Rep. Tony Cuenco, Rep. Junnie Martinez (he was chairman of the House Committee on Local Government that sponsored the Local Government
Code), and Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz.
Incidentally, many don’t know it but Nerissa defeated Serge Osmena in 1987 when both ran for Congress. Oh yes, Sonny Osmena is now running for mayor of Toledo City, Cebu, while Eddie Gullas is running for mayor of Talisay City. I wish both of them success in their election bid.
While Raul del Mar is intent on giving his full time and energy to campaigning, one candidate for Congress hasn’t spent even a single day in the hustings. Gov. Enrique “Tet” Garcia of Bataan, who’s running in the second district of the province, has not been seen outside his home since the campaign period started. With only three campaign days left, chances are he won’t get to campaign before Election Day.
Hey, did I say “won’t?” Make that “can’t.” The fact is, Tet could not campaign because he’s been wheel-chair bound since he suffered from a stroke in December 2011. I was told that he could not stand up without any help. His left side is completely paralyzed and he could barely lift his right arm. He’s running against former Gov. Ding Roman of the Nationalist
People’s Coalition, who’s campaigning as hard as he can.
Other interesting fights for Congress
• 4th district of Pangasinan: Rep. Gina de Venecia (NPC) vs. Celia Lim (Nacionalista Party).
• 1st district of Northern Samar: Gov. Raul Daza (Liberal Party) vs. his former ally, former Rep. Harlin Abayon.
• 1st district of Bataan: former Rep. Tong Payumo vs his former recruit to the LP, Rep. Minia Roman.
• 3rd district of Pampanga: Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. vs former Rep. Oscar Rodriguez.
• Camarines Sur, 2nd district- Rep. Dato Arroyo vs. Gov. LRay Villafuerte and former Gov. Abang Mabolo; 3rd district—Lani Robredo vs. Nelly Villafuerte; 4th district—ex-Rep. Wimpy Fuentebella vs. Aga Muhlach.