Zafra still with Team Rama but open to talking with Tomas
LAST month’s meeting between Councilor Philip Zafra and Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and his allies fueled talks that the councilor may bolt Team Rama to join Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK).
Zafra, president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), said quitting Team Rama is “beside the point” since he credits former mayor Michael Rama for what he has become.
“Maybe my fault was that I reached out to the administration. But that was for me to be able to help the barangays’ concerns,” he told reporters yesterday.
Zafra recalled that he started as Rama’s executive assistant and then became his chief of staff in the mayor’s office for several years.
He then ran as Tisa barangay chairman during the 2013 elections under Team Rama and won.
Zafra was then elected as ABC president and sits in the council as an ex-officio member.
Zafra said he was fed up with City Hall’s inaction on the delay in the release of allowances for barangay workers and the reduction in the fuel subsidy for barangay garbage trucks.
Zafra said he finally agreed to a meeting with Osmeña and his allies as well as some City Hall department heads to resolve these problems.
“They treated me fairly well. They made me comfortable. They are impressed with my actions. And I’m thankful and appreciative that they listened to me even if we belong to opposing parties,” he said about the Osmeña administration.
Zafra admitted though that the BO-PK side has been courting him to switch sides, in a bid to get the majority in the council which is dominated by Team Rama.
Last Monday, rumors resurfaced of at least two Team Rama councilors allegedly bolting the party and transferring to BO-PK.
Among the names floated were Councilors Zafra, James Anthony Cuenco, Pastor Alcover Jr., and Jerry Guardo.
Cuenco, Alcover and Guardo immediately denied the rumors. But at that time, Zafra could not be reached for comment.
He was also absent during last Tuesday’s council session, further fueling speculations of his allegiance.
Zafra hopes that the Osmeña administration will continue to have open lines of communication with them and the rest of the barangays.
He said he will support policies of the administration so long as they benefit the barangays.
Zafra also said he won’t run in this year’s barangay elections and retire instead from public service.
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