Bzzzzz: Councilors Tumulak, Gabuya term-limited. Fight over Cebu City Council seats can be as fierce as the mayoralty race. 'Suroyx2' by Samsam and Eddiegul.

·3 min read

Scooting around with Eddiegul

A PHOTO posted Sunday, September 26, by Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony "Samsam" Gullas shows the young mayor on motorized scooter with his "Papa Eddiegul," Representativ Eduardo Gullas of Cebu's first district. "Suroy2x sa Minglanilla," Samsam wrote.

Supporters must be glad that the congressman, 92 this October 13, looks healthy and fit. At the same time though, some people, who seek meaning behind purportedly innocent Facebook announcements, must wonder if Samsam's post hints that Eddiegul might run again for public office in 2022.

Battle for Sanggunian seats

The fight for Cebu City Council seats can be as fierce as the fight for the top two positions of mayor and vice mayor.

As borne in past administrations and current rulers of City Hall, the Sanggunian can speed up -- or obstruct and disrupt -- plans and projects. Rival parties separately controlling the executive and legislative departments spell slow movement or total gridlock. Recall then mayor Tomas Osmeña calling the Barug councilors "Team Babag" and mayor Mike Rama complaining in his time about the obstructive BOPK councilors.

The present ruling party Barug has 10 members in the Cebu City Council, while the minority BOPK (Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan) has eight. Barug dominates with 10 votes plus the vote of the vice mayor in case of a tie. BOPK has eight, with the votes of six generally-elected councilors increased by the two votes of the barangays chief and youth group head.

IT WOULD'VE BEEN BOPK. The 2019 elections initially yielded nine councilors for BOPK and eight for BOPK. Thus, the BOPK vote would've been 11 (nine plus two votes from the two ex-officio members) against eight in favor of Barug. BOPK would've been the majority party in the Sanggunian, albeit with a Barug mayor and vice mayor.

But defections of two BOPKs (Dave Tumulak and Jerry Guardo) and the disqualification of BOPK's Sisinio Andales and Alvin Arcilla changed that.

Andales and Arcilla's ouster -- for violation of term limit -- benefited Barug's Joel Garganera, who moved to #8 and then-BOPK Guardo who moved to the #7 spot.

Other membership changes along the way had no bearing on the vote balance: Renato Osmena Jr. replaced Barug Nendell Hanz Abella who resigned. James Anthony Cuenco replaced his father Barug Antonio Cuenco who died. The law says the party under which the candidate ran and won recommends the successor to the vacated seat.

NOT TOTAL. For each party, Barug or BOPK, it wouldn't be a complete win if one had no control of both the office of the mayor and the Sanggunian.

No surprise that each side holds its councilors slate close to its chest until the COC-filing deadline. Neither camp is officially naming its roster of councilors.

Dave 'still consulting'

Most, if not all, the incumbent Cebu City councilors are expected to run for reelection in 2022, except:

[1] Those who are term-limited as this is their third consecutive term. Sanggunian Secretary Charisse Piramide said Barug Councilor David Tumulak and BOPK's Eugenio Gabuya Jr. have already reached their term limit. Atty. Chappy said both councilors have been serving three terms consecutively since 2013.

[2] Those who'd run for another position. Typical cases: Barug's Raymond Garcia may run for vice mayor to Mike Rama and BOPK's Franklyn Ong as probable vice mayor to Bebot Abellanosa.

[3] Those whom party leaders may decide to be no longer "winnable" and must give way to younger, more dynamic aspirants, or who themselves beg off for whatever reason.

Councilor Tumulak told SunStar Monday, September 27, he was still holding consultations, apparently with party leaders and supporters. Last September 7, he told reporters he was "open to the possibility of gunning for a higher position... if the Cebuanos will allow." A higher post could be the mayor's, vice mayor's, or congressional seat. Less than three weeks ago, Tumulak said the City "deserves better alternative leadership and genuine public service."

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