Cebu City politics heats up

IT WAS a day to remember for voters of Cebu City as the Rama and Osmeña rival political groups formally announced, whether fully or partially, their much-awaited slates on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 and opened the battleground for the May 2022 local elections.

The Partido BARUG, PDP-Laban, Kusug, and Panaghiusa coalition with the Marino partylist formally presented its official slate through its “Panag-abot” event at the Casino Español de Cebu in Cebu City.

Acting Mayor and mayor aspirant Michael Rama said what his party offers is “continuity in good governance,” especially in dealing with the challenges of the current pandemic.

“Sometimes, people are worried, are we united? Unity in diversity. Unity when we are right now. Yes, there are independents, but attuned to one direction and that direction is good governance,” he said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque was present during the event to support the Barug PDP-Laban candidates who, he said, are President Rodrigo Duterte’s officially-supported candidates.

Coalition aspirants

Mayor: Michael Rama

Vice Mayor: Raymond Alvin Neri Garcia

South District Representative: Eduardo Rama

South District Councilors: Don Don Hontiveros (guest candidate), Phillip Zafra (guest candidate), James Cuenco, Renato “Junjun” Osmeña, Jocelyn G.Pesquera, Rey Gealon, Francis Esparis Harry Eran

North District Representative: Niña Mabatid

North District Councilors: Noel Gonzales Wenceslao, Joel Capili Garganera, Jerry Guardo, Jaypee Labella, Jun Revocla Alcover, Melvin Legaspi, Dr. Peter Mancao, Maria Pino

Garcia, in his speech, enumerated his team’s accomplishments such as being able to author 38 ordinances, 275 committee reports, and 2,772 resolutions.

Having been in the City Council for two terms, Garcia then thanked his party for the trust given to him as the coalition’s vice mayoral candidate.

Meanwhile, Mabatid who will run against BOPK’s Rachel “Cutie” del Mar, daughter of the late congressman Raul del Mar admitted that it will be a “more difficult” campaign for her with Richard Yap’s bid for Congress. Yap was part of Partido Barug until he decided to run independently.

“I hope he would change his mind because I don’t know why he should run to lose when he had a good reputation as an actor,” Mabatid said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Edu Rama, for his part, said he intends to focus on health, education, economy and social services should he be given the chance to sit as congressman of Cebu City’s South District.

He will run against former Mayor Tomas Osmeña of the Bando Osmeńa-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) whose five electoral candidates filed their certificate of candidacy (COC) before the Comission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday.

BOPK’s first five

First to arrive at the Comelec Cebu City office was North District congressional aspirant Del Mar, followed by Councilor Lea Japson (North District), Vice Mayoral candidate and current councilor Franklyn Ong, Councilor Raul Alcoseba (South District), and Councilor Joy Young (North District).

Margot Osmeña, BOPK’s standard bearer, still has to file her COC.

“We thank Cong. Bebot ( Abellanosa) for sliding down because it was really his decision that Margot, you run nalang as mayor. Like that ba,” Japson said in a mix of Cebuano and English. Abellanosa who is on his last term in Congress was earlier eyed to run for mayor under the BOPK.

Ong, for his part, thanked his party for trusting him this time as the party’s vice mayoral candidate.

“Having been in the barangay for many years, we know the problems of the barangays and I think I can help,” he added. Ong who is the current president of Cebu City’s Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) said he will focus on basic services if elected. He said the other BOPK candidates will file their COCs on Thursday, Oct. 7.

For her part, Del Mar said her father remains “so much a part of her candidacy.” She said she visited her father’s grave before filing her COC and brought with her her father’s last held rosary, Sto. Niño necklace, ballpen, and handkerchief. She also wore his cologne. The older Del Mar died in Nov. 2020.

Cebu Province

Meanwhile, incumbent board members Kerrie Shimura and Horacio Franco, both of Cebu’s fourth district; Ceasar Baricuatro, father of incumbent board member Christopher “Dong” Baricuatro of the seventh district; and Fourth District Rep. Janice Salimbangon filed their COCs under Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s One Cebu Party on Tuesday.

Independent board member aspirant, Dr. Ron Del Mar also filed his COC for the first district.

As of Oct. 4, Comelec Cebu data showed that 179 political aspirants had filed their COC for different elective positions across the province. However, no one has yet filed candidacies for the top posts of governor and vice governor, three days before the end of the COC filing period set on Oct. 8, Friday. (ANV)