Bzzzzz: Cebu City 2022 polls: For Sanggunian seats, returnees and newcomers like ex-mayor's daughter-in-law Bea Osmeña and Cong Bebot's son Bebot. Tomas, Margot not ruled out of races

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Spouses Osmeña still 'pambato'

Reelectionist elected officials seek for a higher position or, failing to get the desired slot, settle for what they currently hold.

What may affect the decision of the party -- in Cebu City, the ruling party Barug and its rival BOPK -- regarding reelectionist members when the deadline for filing of certificates of candidacy of COCs, October 1 to 8, comes:

[1] DECISION ON TOP SLOTS: mayor, vice mayor and congressman.

If at BOPK, neither Tomas Osmeña nor his wife Margot will run for mayor, it's probably Representative Rodrigo "Bebot" Abellanosa and ABC representative Councilor Franklyn Ong for the two highest positions at City Hall.

The Barug tandem is assumed by many to be that of Mayor Edgardo Labella and Vice Mayor Michael Rama. But VM Rama is a wild card. Despite his more recent "good behavior" and at least two public declarations that he won't run for mayor, he can upset the "kamada" if he chooses to. Then there's the matter of Labella's health. He might choose to sit out the 2022 race or opt to run for congressman instead, a lighter task.

[2] CANDIDATES' WINNABILITY: The party usually picks the tandem for City Hall or the bet for the House on the basis of "winnability," that is, on the power to pull in the votes by bailiwick and individual charisma coupled with the weakness of the competition.

Probable teams

So for BOPK, the current betting is on Abellanosa or Ong for mayor or vice mayor with one of the Osmeña spouses as the dark horse, should party chief think his bet for mayor and vice mayor might be facing stronger rivals. What will decide that? Supposedly his surveys, meaning Tomas himself who allegedly perfected the art of politics, despite having lost in 2013 and 2019.

If the Labella-Rama tandem won't push through, a split of the two groups is not impossible but improbable, both Barug leaders knowing that it would mean certain defeat for their party. (But if the "impossible" would come, Labella could run under Kusug, which is registered in former mayor Alvin Garcia's name, maybe not under Panaghiusa, which is registered in the name of Mike Rama and the late Sonny Osmeña. Barug is listed with Mike as founder.)

So for BOPK, it could be an Abellanosa-Ong team, or Tomas Osmeña or Margot Osmeña for mayor, with Abellanosa or Ong for vice mayor.

And for Barug: the Labella-Rama tandem or Rama, with Councilor Raymond Garcia or some other party stalwart for vice mayor.

Battle for House seats

Barug's candidate for Congress could be Richard Yap again, the TV star of "Be Careful with My Heart," who lost to Raul del Mar, Cutie del Mar's dad, by 54,000 votes. Recently, Councilor Niña Mabatid took a swipe at Yap who, she said, surfaced only after the pandemic in the city subsided when, she and other Barug elected officials had been risking infection while helping constituents.

Barug has its own way of picking candidates, including vote-drawing power (Mabatid polled #2 in the 2019 elections), but Mabatid is a neophyte councilor who has collected a number of enemies among Barug leaders, notably the campaign manager in the last elections and some colleagues who blame their loss on Mabatid's maverick campaign. It could be Yap or Councilor Garcia who, in a recent Sanggunian session, was teasingly called "Kong Raymond" by fellow councilors. A third party, Promdi might be revived to field Mariano "Mimo" Osmeña, son former Cebu governor Emilio "Lito" Osmeña, for the seat vacated by Raul Del Mar. Mimo had been threatening to run in at least two past elections but did not.

In city south, from Barug, former councilor Joy Pesquera could make another bid, which she lost to Bebot in 2019. Other personalities like Totol Batuhan and former councilor Gerry Carillo, who ran unsuccessfully in previous elections, might try again.

Tomas Osmeña might field Tomas Osmeña as BOPK bet for congressman, that is, if Tommy wouldn't seek the mayorship and would get spousal permission to run again. Tomas served as congressman in 2010 but it was a lackluster term that showed clearly he didn't enjoy being a legislator. Otherwise, BOPK would've to look for congressional timber for the south.

North councilors race

The race for "honorable" positions in the Sanggunian (eight in each of two districts) will be more crowded as independents, as in previous contests, would join in.

Probable BOPK returnees in the north are incumbents Minority Floor Leader Nestor Archival, Joy Young, Leah Japson, Alvin Dizon and Jessica Resch, supposedly apolitical member as SK rep but must now come out openly under BOPK. Councilor Jerry Guardo won under BOPK-LDP in 2019 but last July 1, 2019 he took his oath before Mayor Labella.

Former councilors Sisenio Andales and Alvin Arcila may also run; they won in the 2019 elections but were struck down by Comelec and the courts when they tried to argue that term limit was interrupted during their suspension from office. Gary Lao, aggressive councilor of Tejero, ran for councilor last election and former councilor Mary Ann de los Santos for vice mayor. Both may join the BOPK north slate, along with the labor sector's Art Barrit.

Barug reelectionists in the north are Councilors Niña Mabatid, if she won't run for congresswoman or vice mayor (her positions of choice), Joel Garganera and Raymond Garcia, if he won't run for vice mayor or congressman. The names of a number of pro-administration aspirants have come up, through increased presence in social media, but Barug is secretive about its probable bets. Expected to be tapped are candidates in past elections who wish to try again.

Notable newbies in south

Among the newcomers City Hall watchers are talking about are Ana Gabriela Beatriz "Bea" Osmeña, wife of the son of Tomas and Margot, and Bebot Jose Abellanosa, son of Congressman Abellanosa.

Reelectionists in the south are, for BOPK, David Tumulak, Raul Alcoseba, Eugenio Gabuya Jr., and for Barug, Donald Hontiveros, James Anthony Cuenco, Renato Osmeña Jr., Eduardo Rama Jr., and Phillip Zafra. Tumulak won in 2019 as BOPK-NP but last June 30, 2019, he, with Councilor Guardo, went up the stage and joined Barug-PDP Laban councilors for oath-taking. Both councilors have been working closely with the Barug administration.

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