Bzzzzz: Bebot A. lands in the news; city south seat draws competitors

Simultaneous denial

THE name of Representative Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa appeared in news stories Wednesday, March 4, including the Manila media, the day after he and Representative Raul del Mar delivered separate privileged speeches on the absence of a stand by the Visayas bloc regarding the ABS-CBN franchise issue.

The simultaneous denial of the two Cebu City representatives: The bloc Visayas Bloc did not meet and did not call a meeting on the controversy and thus there was no official stand of the group as claimed by another congressman from Cebu.

It was a rare moment for Congressman Bebot as he hardly would land in the news for taking the floor and talking on a subject. Past appearances in the news were about his having abstained from some important voting or being blamed for that long-running, much delayed road “tunnel” project along Bacalso Ave. in Cebu City. (It was already finished and the Cebu public still has to be told whether it has improved the traffic condition in the area.)

Abellanosa’s bills

BUT, not known to many, “Cong” Bebot has filed a number of bills, at least three which are noteworthy and yet have been barely mentioned in the media:

[1] A bill (HB #0057) seeking to declare every 15th of each month as a no-smoking day and providing penalty for each violation. Pending in the committee on health.

[2] A bill (HB #00558) requiring employers to pay a 14th-month pay. Pending in the committee on labor and employment.

[3] A bill (HB #0059) seeking to establish an urgent, comprehensive and intensified management of traffic in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

How the smoking ban will be enforced and whether employers can afford or will be willing to pay the 14th-month pay still have to be answered.

But the traffic bill is particularly interesting, given the worsening traffic condition, especially in Cebu where Bebot’s constituents live. But no details have been publicized; archives of Cebu newspapers don’t show any.

Attractive House seat

“CONG” Abellanosa will complete his three consecutive terms in the House of Representatives in 2022. This early, his seat has already drawn interested competitors.

He has no known and specific “successor” who can put up a strong fight. Last rumor that floated was that he has a son to whom he will pass on the mantle of congressman, not an original idea since many other legislators have been practicing and refining the art on interrupting term limit.

What makes it attractive to veteran politicos is that they think the son won’t be as strong as the dad and their chances of breaking the “chain of succession” are better.

Those mentioned as probable contenders include former city councilor Joy Pesquera, who gained valuable experience and exposure, when she ran and lost for the Cebu City south seat in 2019, and Councilor Dave Tumulak who has consistently topped races among the councilors, placing second only to Dondon Hontiveros in the last election.

What’s ahead for Bebot

AS to what’s next for “Cong” Abellanosa, the talk is about the Cebu City mayor’s seat. Which could only gain traction if Tomas Osmeña (“I shall return”), his wife Margot or his son Miguel wouldn’t run. Bebot might run for mayor with Councilor Franklin Ong as his running mate.

Or Bebot could sit the next one out. In 2022, he will have served the government as an elective official for about 28 years non-stop: as barangay councilor of Duljo-Fatima from 1994; as Cebu City councilor from 2002; and as congressman from 2014. Even the most energetic and public-service-consumed politician needs to rest.

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