Bzzzzz: How Tumulak, Resch, Ong voted on spending SRP sale money

PEOPLE talk about...

[1] THE 2022 SARA-DIGONG TANDEM. A poll survey among Visayan and Mindanao voters purportedly shows that voters from the VisMin area prefer Sara Duterte-Carpio as president and, don't hold your breath, her dad Digong Duterte as vice president. "Duterte(s) pa more!" Sara is Davao City vice mayor, while Digong is the sitting president. The survey was conducted by one Publicus Asia and it was called "Pahayag" (Cebuano-Bisaya for announcement or declaration).

The survey, conducted last November 15-19, supposedly covered 2,000 registered voters picked at random.

[2] OTHER PROBABLES. The other probable contenders, as the people conducting the survey see them: Senator Grace Poe, Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Manny Pacquiao, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Bong Go (in that order, after Carpio).

No mention about Vice President Leni Robredo. No mention too about the running mates of the other probable contenders, besides Digong as Sara's VP.

Tumulak's vote

Has Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, who ran and won in 2019 under the BOPK banner, formally joined rival Partido Barug, the administration party?

He may have or may have not. But here's one thing certain: Tumulak voted on the side of Barug in Wednesday's (December 18) vote on the 2020 budget, thickening by one vote the razor-thin edge of the majority. The result that passed the city's P10.4 billion budget for next year: 9-7-1 (for, against, and abstained).

Ong's and Resch's

BOPK's Franklyn Ong, the councilor representing the Association of Barangay Councils, abstained. The ABC is theoretically non-partisan but Ong has been allied with BOPK and he won his City Council seat because of BOPK support.

Ong didn't give any reason to media but City Hall watchers suspect he might have reached some "modus vivendi" with the administration led by Barug's Mayor Edgar Labella and Vice Mayor Mike Rama. Or he was sending out the signal that he is not a die-hard Osmenista.

Jessica Resch -- the other supposedly non-partisan member, representing the youth sector Sangguniang Kabataan Federation -- voted with her BOPK allies against the budget.

Controversial spending

Tumulak's vote though caught more attention as he is identified with and became councilor primarily because of the BOPK machinery.

Also, it was a major and controversial vote as the 2020 budget includes some P1.5 billion from the proceeds of the sale of some South Road Properties lots, which BOPK chief Tomas Osmeña, the former mayor, wants to be rescinded. Throughout his 2016 term, he had refused to spend the money, arguing that the contract that produced it was void. To BOPK, it was a crucial vote and Dave Tumulak voted for the cause of the "enemy."

In explaining their opposition, one of the BOPK councilors pointed to a pending court litigation on the validity of the contract of sale of SRP lots. But the court has not issued a restraining order against City Hall regarding the money. Another court in a previous case involving the same SRP transaction refused to order the stoppage of spending of the sale's proceeds. Appropriating the money would be covered by the presumption of regularity of the City Council action.

A more plausible explanation is that the BOPK councilors, except Tumulak and Ong, wouldn't want to offend their boss Tomas who filed a criminal complaint involving the same lots purchase against Mike Rama during whose term as mayor the allegedly illegal sale was consummated.

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