No longer the majority? No worries, says Garganera
“WE don’t need to be the majority to get our message across.”
Cebu City opposition Councilor Joel Garganera said that losing the majority in the council will not hinder the Barug Team PDP-Laban block from ensuring there will be checks and balances in the city government.
(Garnera explained their group is no longer called Barug Team Rama but Barug Team PDP-Laban in recognition of their affiliation with the administration party).
“That’s the essence of the legislative — to bring checks and balances to the executive. It does not necessarily mean that we have the number,” said Garganera.
He said they are open to the possibility that a new majority will lord over the city council after more than half of the 80 barangay captains who won in Monday’s polls are allied with Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s Bando Osmeña Pudok Kauswagan (BOPK).
Garganera instead urged the councilors not to let the city council become a mere rubber stamp of the mayor.
“He (Osmeña) thinks that he is God and that whatever he says should be the gospel. That is not the case anymore,” said Garganera.
Garganera however clarified that the Barug Team PDP-Laban councilors are not into blocking all developmental projects of the mayor, stressing they employ fair judgment when discussing or deciding about issues and projects brought before the council.
Garganera, however, said they were still hopeful that they would maintain their current number in the council, expressing optimism that an ally would be elected as president of the city’s Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) and sit as an ex-officio member of the council.
“That’s the dynamics of politics. You never know what will happen. It’s a series of ups and downs,” Garganera said.
Cebu City’s incumbent ABC president and the council’s ex-officio member is Tisa Barangay Captain Philip Zafra, who was re-elected on Monday. He is a member of Barug and provided the eighth opposition vote that created a deadlock in the city council, since BOPK also has eight council members on its side.
The deadlock was also often broken in favor of the opposition by Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, the presiding officer, who is also with Barug.
Garganera said they would have to decide who to field for the ABC presidency but he believed Zafra should stay in position.
“I am forever faithful that Zafra will be a good ABC president. He is not a politician. He is a professional with the heart and passion to serve and that is what the public needs for a public servant,” said Garganera.
But Osmeña has been very public with his desire to regain control of the council, in order to get his projects through the legislative body.
Re-elected Kasambagan Barangay Captain Franklin Ong is now being floated as BOPK’s possible bet for ABC president.
Ong, a long time ally of BOPK, is also the owner of Pasajero Motors Corporation (Pamocor), the third party contractor hired to haul the city’s garbage.
Osmeña however said he was not particular as to who would run as ABC president for as long as the winner would come from BOPK.
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