By: Morexette Marie B. Erram May 15,2018 - 10:43 PM

Osmeña and Rama

Is Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña finally getting his wish of claiming the majority in the Cebu City Council?

He appeared optimistic after results of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections last Monday showed that more than half of the elected barangay captains in the city’s 80 villages were his allies.

A list from the city government’s Barangay Affairs Office (BAO) showed that 49 elected village chairs belonged to the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) while the rest of the 31 were with Barug Team Rama.

Before Monday’s polls, only 15 barangay captains belonged to BOPK.

Based on the BAO list, 19 out of 34 elected barangay captains in the south district were with the BOPK and 30 out of 46 village chairs in the north.

With more BOPK barangay captains, Osmeña was hoping to have an ally elected as president of the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC)-Cebu City chapter and replace incumbent Philip Zafra, who won his reelection bid as barangay chair of Tisa.

Zafra belongs to Barug Team Rama. But if he is replaced by a BOPK-allied barangay captain, the administration party would hold the majority by just one vote.

At present, both Barug Team Rama and BOPK have an equal number of councilors in the council. But the presiding officer, Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella, who breaks the tie, is with the opposition.

Aside from Zafra, those with the opposition councilors were Joel Garganera, Raymond Alvin Garcia, Jose Daluz III, Pastor Alcover Jr., Eduardo Rama Jr., Jocelyn Pesquera and Renato Osmeña Jr.

The BOPK councilors are Mary Ann de los Santos, Jerry Guardo, Dave Tumulak, Sisinio Andales, Alvin Arcilla, Eugenio Gabuya Jr., Joy Augustus Young and the mayor’s wife, Margarita Osmeña.

Osmeña has been accusing the opposition of playing politics by blocking the administration’s projects.

The most recent was the council’s decision to junk the resolution which would authorize Osmeña to enter into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with the Gokongwei-led Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) and develop the Kawit Island as an P18-billion integrated resort.

“What is happening right now is that I lost the ability to bring in an investor … these are simple politics for them,” said Osmeña.

He said he could not wait for the tide to turn and get the majority in the city council, saying he didn’t want to be “at the mercy of these people who make babag (block) at everything I do.”

“But if I have to wait until May, I will wait. But this is not for me. What’s at stake here is the City of Cebu and its people,” he added.
Osmeña declined to divulge his game plan.

“I will tell you after I have it. Why would I tell the others what I’m going to do? As much as I would like to answer that question, but I’m getting a little concerned, if not paranoid, it will be used against me or against Cebu,” the mayor explained.

But Zafra said he already knew that the mayor wanted him replaced in the city council by an ally.

“Well, that’s the mayor’s intention. And I expected it. But nevertheless, I’m open to both possibilities that I may be reelected or another barangay chief, regardless of their party, will be the next ABC – Cebu City president,” explained Zafra.

Due to multiple postponements of the barangay elections, Zafra was ABC-Cebu City president for five years after he was elected in December 2013.

Sought for comment, former Cebu City Michael Rama and Alcover told a news conference on Tuesday that it was still premature to say that there would be a shift of political tide in the city council.

“That’s still premature. We will just have to wait for the official result from the Comelec before we can say anything about the council,” said Alcover.

Rama and the rest of the Barug Team Rama candidates remain in a fighting mood, a day after the election.

They said their defeated allies intended to file election protests after the Comelec officially proclaimed the winners.

“This is not over yet as long as the Comelec has not officially proclaimed anything. We will not give any further details of our plans but yes, we’re planning to file election protests. And I also want to get to the bottom of this thing. We will have a legal group to look into this,” said Rama.

In the meantime, the name of Franklin Ong was floated as possible BOPK candidate as ABC-Cebu City president after he was proclaimed elected barangay captain of Kasambagan on Tuesday dawn by the Barangay Board of Canvassers (BBOC).

When asked if this was true, Osmeña did not confirm or deny.

“They (barangay captains) make their selection, as long as they’re from Type O,” said Osmeña, in reference to BOPK’s campaign slogan “Choose Type O.”

Ong, a long time Osmeña ally, owns Pasajero Motors Corp. (Pamocor) which was hired by the Cebu City Government to haul the city’s garbage.

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TAGS: 31, BOPK, Team Rama

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