Bzzzzz: Tomas O. to pick between Cutie, Mary Ann. Finding Mimo, but where? President-VP 'camada' to 'shield Digong.' No Cebu senator in horizon.

·4 min read

IF YOU ask whom rivals Barug and BOPK will field as their candidates in Cebu City's north congressional district, there are no definite answers yet, just speculations.

In Partido Barug, they attached the word "final" to the team "agreed upon" at the sideline of the July 17 PDP-Laban national assembly in Clark, Pampanga.

But soon after party-mates returned to Cebu, a squabble erupted over some slate seats, including the House. They may pick one official candidate but that may not stop other aspirants from filing their COC or certificate of candidacy. So it's supposedly Councilor Niña Mabatid but Richard Yap, who lost to Representative Raul Del Mar in 2019, still considers himself a contender.

INCLUDED IN BARUG SURVEY. On the BOPK side: Rachel "Cutie" Del Mar, former congresswoman and daughter of the late multiple-term congressman, may clash with Mary Ann de los Santos, who lost to Cutie by 40,000 votes in the 2010 congressional race. It would be a return match between the two women politicians. Barug must consider Mary Ann a "most probable" rival as she, with Cutie, was included in the party's recent survey.

The decision of BOPK leader Tomas Osmeña is being watched with keen interest. Would he risk a divided BOPK vote in the north, if both Cutie and Mary Ann would run? That might imperil party chances in the other slots, especially the mayor and vice mayor races, and at the same time, discard the chosen successor of his long-time friend and political ally for decades.

MIMO OSMEÑA FINALLY? Independents and third-party bets in the city's prime district might include Emilio "Mimo" Osmeña III, son of the late governor Lito Osmeña. Mimo had been putting off political plans in the last three local elections, as he couldn't decide between running for congressman and for mayor or vice governor.

Would voters finally find Mimo Osmeña in the list of candidates for the next elections? His dad's last press-conference, before his death last July 19, was to launch his bid for 2022. Finding Mimo in the candidates' list would be a source of surprise.

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The president-VP 'camada'

A Cebuano journalist based in Manila gave this scenario last year just after a PDP-Laban group last May 31 passed a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to run for vice president in 2020:

[1] Digong Duterte accepts the PDP-Laban offer with Senator Bong Go as his president.

[2] Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio refuses, at least initially, to have anything to do with the Go-Duterte tandem and decides on her own under the Hugpong party.

[3] If Mayor Sara runs, the President may not run as VP and instead have Bong Go as Sara's VP.

[4] Or both father and daughter file COCs -- Sara as president and Digong as VP -- but under separate parties, and Bong Go his COC for president. Substitutions and withdrawals will take care of the final "camada" or arrangement.

#1 and #2 already happened.

POSSIBLE OUTCOMES. Whatever the October-1-to-8 slates, which can still be rearranged or modified by withdrawal and/or substitution, the unchanging goal is for Digong to become the VP to a president who can protect him from lawsuits and other forms of post-presidency harassment. Ideally, someone who will say "yes sir" or "yes papa."

Bong Go as president would be the best outcome for Digong as effectively he'd still be the de facto president since even as Senator Bong Go still couldn't shake off his gofer mentality and loyalty.

Sara would be tougher to boss around.

Next to that ideal setup is Digong serving as VP to her daughter Sara. And a third, less desirable yet acceptable, outcome would be having as president an ally who wouldn't make him accountable for anything that happened during his six-year term.

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PDP-Laban's Senate slate

Last Tuesday, August 24, PDP-Laban (or Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan) released its "initial" senatorial slate for 2022.

The names: Rodante Marcoleta, one of the House's platoon of deputy speakers; Salvador Panelo, chief presidential legal counsel; Gringo Honasan information and communications technology secretary and former senator; Arthur Tugade, transport secretary; and Mark Villar, public works and highways secretary.

The party is vetting 20 "potential candidates" who include Salvador Bello III, Karlo Nograles, Greco Belgica, John Castriones, Dax Cua, and Lucy Torres. Only one or two are almost-household-names.

And none from Cebu.

They're probably scraping the bottom of the barrel as they plan to field only eight or nine bets from PDP-Laban and the rest from parties allied with the administration. Twelve Senate seats will be contested on May 9, 2022. And most probably no one from Cebu.

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