CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY(MindaNews/ 24 August)—Philanthropist-industrialist Elmer Francisco, who disclosed last week his plans to run as city mayor, has denied that Mayor Vicente Emano was behind his political bid.
He also insisted that he is not the official candidate of Bangon Kagay-an, a local civic-political group.
Francisco’s declaration to run drew mix reactions in social networks, mostly negative, because of his apparent “closeness” to Emano.
He said the perceived closeness with Emano may have stemmed from the relief operations and relocation projects after tropical storm Sendong hit the city last year.
“I have no personal connection with Emano. Except for events and activities that are professional in nature, I never had business with Emano,” Francisco said.
Francisco, whose family runs jeepney-maker Francisco Motors Corp., pointed out that if he is indeed close to Emano, he could have easily sought the help of the latter when one of his business establishments in the city went bankrupt.
He was referring to his light truck business, the Jac Showroom, in Barangay Carmen.
Meanwhile, Francisco, also a board of member of Bangon Kagay-an, said he did not consult the group about his political plans.
“I am not actively seeking the support of the group,” he said, adding that his pronouncement should not in “any way affect the credibility of the group’s advocacies for transparency, accountability and good governance.”
Francisco said his original plan was to run for Senate, but dropped it because he does not “believe” in the coalition of the Nacionalista and Liberal parties.
“How can you coalesce the two opposite ideological foundations of the
two parties?” he asked.
Francisco said he decided to run for city mayor because “I’m raising my family here and I don’t want them to grow up in a dirty city.”
He said he believes that city residents should not “choose the lesser evil.”
“What is there to choose from between the two? They’re just the same. That’s why I am presenting myself as the alternative. Cagayan de Oro deserves better,” said Francisco, referring to Emano and Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno.
Bangon Kagay-an—a socio-political group that started as an online forum on Facebook and has since been campaigning against another Emano term—organized a forum early this week to put to rest rumors circulating in the Internet after Francisco declared his bid for mayor.
The group has also sponsored a forum for Moreno, who is also planning to run for mayor, and city councilor Edgar Cabanlas, who is eyeing the vice mayoralty seat.
Nixon Baban, Bangon Kagay-an president, said the group will continue to hold forums for politicians who are running for local office next year.
“We have been sponsoring these forums so that our members will be enlightened and will be able to choose whom to support intelligently,” he said.
Baban said he had “mixed emotions” when he saw Francisco announcing his plan to run for mayor on ABS-CBN TV Patrol-Northern Mindanao last week.
“Elmer’s decision to run is his prerogative. We were never consulted but still I’m proud that there is someone from the ranks of Bangon Kagay-an who has the balls to take on Emano,” he said. (Cong B. Corrales/MindaNews)