Renato Osmeña Jr. is UNA’s choice to replace Abella

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita September 21,2017 - 11:08 PM

Renato Osmeña Jr. signs his Certificate of Nomination as replacement for former city councilor Hanz Abella.
CDN PHOTO/JOSE SANTINO BUNACHITA

It’s official. The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has chosen to endorse Renato “Junjun” Osmeña Jr. as the replacement of former Cebu City councilor Nendell Hanz Abella.

A certificate of nomination and acceptance signed by both UNA chairman and former vice president Jejomar Binay and Osmeña has been secured by Barug Team Rama which presented the document at a press conference yesterday afternoon.

Osmeña ran under Barug Team Rama, the local affiliate of UNA, in last year’s elections and ended up at ninth place.

“It is just logical, legal, appropriate that the nominee signed by UNA president and former VP Binay is none other than Renato Osmeña Jr. who was selected after a concensus of all the members of the Team Rama incumbents,” said Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella.

The certificate of nomination and acceptance was signed by Osmeña during yesterday’s press conference. Binay already signed the document last September 18. The document was also notarized by a lawyer.

Osmeña said he is happy with the group’s decision to nominate him as Abella’s replacement.

Abella already resigned as city councilor last week after he took his oath of office as commissioner of the seventh division of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

“I’m just so happy. I can’t help myself but laugh. (I’m) so happy for this opportunity. I humbly and meekly accept this certificate of nomination in memory of my father, former vice mayor Renato Osmeña Sr. I am so happy and proud to work for this team,” he said.

Osmeña used to work for the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor). He is the brother of former city councilor Richard Osmeña.

Barug Team Rama stalwarts, led by former mayor Michael Rama, pointed out that with Osmeña’s certificate, there should be no other nominee for approval of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Inayawan Barangay Captain Lutherlee “Lotlot” Ignacio-Soon was also rumored as among the choices, but with the group’s decision, they said they are only recommending one person.

Since the group does not intend to recommend another nominee, they said they are hopeful that Osmeña will eventually be appointed by the President as new city councilor.

“We’ve done half of the work which is to get the nomination of UNA because that is what the law requires. The other half is the appointment of the President. We are hopeful that the President will appoint Junjun,” said Councilor Jose Daluz III.

For his part, Rama said Osmeña was chosen as their nominee due to his “competency, character, health, party acceptability, and winnability.”
Meanwhile, the group also criticized the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) for their “maneuver” in trying to push for their own nominee with UNA through Senator Manny Pacquiao.

Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera said she was called by a staff member from UNA’s secretariat last Saturday informing her that Sen. Pacquiao was requesting for the party’s endorsement of Rengelle Pelayo as Abella’s replacement.

Pelayo is a known BO-PK ally and was an ex-officio city councilor in 2008–2010 being president of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) federation of Cebu City.

But Pesquera said she was told by the staff that Binay has assured that he would not accept the nomination as he wanted it to come from their local ally, which is Barug Team Rama.

When she informed the other group members about it, Rama was coincidentally in Manila and was with Binay. She said she was able to talk to Binay through the phone and was given the assurance.

For his part, Councilor James Anthony Cuenco also said that yesterday morning during their group’s meeting, he was able to talk with Senator Nancy Binay through the phone.

They were told by the senator that Mayor Osmeña had personally visited her in the Senate to try and ask her help for him to be able to talk with her father.

“You can see the hand of the main man in City Hall doing this. It’s indescribable,” Cuenco said.

Pesquera said that if BO-PK continues to push for their nominee, they could be criminally and administratively liable for “undermining the process of appointing a replacement in case of vacancy” which is provided for under the Local Government Code.

Sought for comment yesterday, Mayor Osmeña still did not confirm nor deny the allegations of Barug Team Rama.

He pointed out that even if Rama is technically still with UNA, he had already expressed his desire to switch alliances with the President’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

“But all of you know that Rama wants to transfer to PDP-Laban and they all did. But he was not accepted. But he has already demonstrated his betrayal to his own party. So he has no moral ascendancy to claim that he is UNA. He is just clinging on to that for practical benefits,” he told reporters.

Even before the formal appointment of Junjun Osmeña, Barug Team Rama councilors already congratulated him on his expected entry into the Cebu City Council.

Councilors Eduardo Rama Jr., Pastor Alcover Jr., Raymond Garcia, Philip Zafra, among others, said they hope to be able to push their resolutions and ordinances with his help.

Labella said Junjun Osmeña would be a big help to them in the City Council as he worked as manager of Pagcor for several years.

He also recalled that his father, former vice mayor Renato Osmeña Sr., was his mentor when he first joined politics as city councilor in 1998.
“I am confident that he will continue the legacy of his father — no nonsense public service,” Labella said.

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TAGS: Abella, choice, Jr., Osmeña, Renato, replace, Unas

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