Sonny and Lito

By: Malou Guanzon Apalisok May 11,2015 - 02:15 PM

Former Cebu governor and Promdi founder Emilio “Lito” Osmena has transferred his place of registration from Cebu City to Balamban town in the third district, a report that immediately set tongues wagging.  I heard a number of opinion makers asking, with raised eyebrows,  “What is he up to this time?”

Apparently, political observers don’t buy Lito’s explanation that the transfer was mainly for “convenience”.  The new polling precinct is reportedly just behind his residence in barangay Duangan, Balamban town.  The 76-year-old politician wasn’t able to vote in the last elections because his previous precinct in barangay Malubog, Cebu City was located in the upper story of a school building.   Just the same, he neither confirmed nor denied speculations that he is running for Cebu governor or as mayor of Balamban town.

All politicians have a keen sense of whetting public appetite but I’m more interested to know if his older brother, former senator and incumbent mayor of Toledo City, John “Sonny” Osmeña, is really supportive of his brother’s reported bid for a local post.

As we all know, the siblings had a falling out in 1992 when Lito decided to run for vice president in tandem with Fidel V. Ramos, something which threw a monkey wrench to Sonny’s plans to make the Ramon Mitra-Marcelo Fernan team win in the same presidential race.

I will not belabor the topic, suffice it to say that for the past two decades the brothers had a very public feud and people had gotten used to hear Sonny hurl insults against Lito.

That’s why when I heard that Lito’s political comeback is being supported by Sonny, I thought the story of their reconciliation was more newsworthy.

In a phone interview with this corner yesterday, Sonny clarified that the news of his brother staging a political comeback was conveyed to him by a radioman.  To this, he (Sonny) remarked, “Maayo” (That’s good).  He emphasized he never made any statements supporting Lito’s political plans.

The last time he talked with his younger brother was in July 2014 when they bumped into each other during a party hosted by a mutual friend.  They had a conversation but it was not about politics, according to Sonny.

“So have you smoked the peace pipe?”

“Tiguwang na mi, wan a miy angayng awayan” (We’re both old now, there’s nothing to quarrel about) came Sonny’s answer.

Asked about Lito’s chances of winning if he ran for mayor of Balamban or governor of Cebu, Sonny said that whatever his brother’s decision would be, he will do so based on information.  The Osmeñas are reputed to examine patterns of election results and rely heavily on surveys of voting behavior.

Time heals all wounds and for the Osmeña siblings the healing took some time.  Asked about the lessons of the past, Sonny said their “quarrels had left a negative effect on the public and we both suffered politically.”

Still, Sonny’s cutting tongue sliced ever so subtly when pressed to comment on Lito’s political comeback.

“My guess is that he is bored, or encouraged that someone four years older than him is still able to render some public service,” he said, referring to his current state as mayor of Toledo City at the ripe age of 80 years old.


* * *

Last Monday, I got invited to the Regional Cooperative Development Council 7 board meeting in which I shared the paper, “The Storytelling Power of Co-operatives.”  This is an advocacy and education training program which I previously presented in Kuala Lumpur in December last year during the International Seminar on Women Participation in Cooperative Economic Growth sponsored by ANGKASA, Malaysia’s apex body on cooperatives.

The advocacy to tell the cooperative story is in line with “Identity,” one of the five themes of the Blueprint for the 2020 International Cooperative Decade.

The International Cooperative Alliance which is the main driver of the celebration is calling cooperatives worldwide to “secure the coop identity” by telling their stories as a way of raising the cooperative profile and further boost the economic model as the preferred way of doing business in the run up to 2020.

The training program which I developed through VICTO National proceeds from the universal truth that every cooperative has a compelling story.  It needs to be told through any of the following platforms: film, video, photos, and narrative form.

The organizers are happy to have rounded up marquee resource persons in the field of basic film/video documentation and camera techniques:  Mr. Timothy Doolen and Danny Anaya, both instructors of a local film academy and who have lent their cinematic works to Hollywood films like Robocop, Titanic, Armageddon, etc.

The highlight of the training program is the participation of CDN publisher and acting editor-in-chief, Eileen Mangubat, who will share tips and tricks on clear and effective writing.

“The Storytelling Power of Co-operatives” will be held this coming May 29-30 at the Victo Haus in Beverly Hills, Cebu City.  Please get in touch with Kevin Samson at 09094051107 or at [email protected]

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TAGS: Lito Osmena, politics, Sonny Osmeña

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