Espinoza: Just a warning?

·3 min read

That former Cebu City Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña, the better half of former City Mayor Tomas Osmeña who is head of Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), is gunning for the city’s mayoralty race is to me a fair warning to Cebu City South District Rep. Bebot Abellanosa, whose term will end next year, and Association of Barangay Councils President and Kasambagan Barangay Captain Franklyn Ong to shape up.

Floated earlier as the standard bearer for BOPK in the mayoralty and vice mayoralty race in next year’s general elections were Congressman Abellanosa and Barangay Captain Ong. However, it was reported that the two have disagreement on who would be the party’s standard bearer. Ong wanted to run for city mayor since, he said, he has the support of the majority of the city’s barangay captains. Abellanosa, being a former legislator, won’t settle for the city’s second highest post.

The filing by Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez of his certificate of candidacy (COC) for Cebu City vice mayor under Liberal Party but without a candidate for city mayor is a gambit. Everyone knows that Fernandez is a member of BOPK and he was the city administrator during Tomas’ term as city mayor. He was also appointed DILG undersecretary during the late PNoy’s presidency.

Some of my friends say Margot is not running for city mayor since this is only a ploy of BOPK to put their opponents off guard. Sans unforeseen events, it’s Tomas, who would run for city mayor. For the city’s administration, it’s Vice Mayor Mike Rama, who’s running for city mayor under his Barug Party with Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia of Kusug Party as his running mate.

At the moment, though, everything is fluid. We would know the final candidates and parties and their slates on Oct. 8, the last day of filing of the COCs. And, on Nov. 15, the last day for substitution, the candidates, who belong to the same political party, can still switch.

If Abellanosa and Ong could not agree on who would settle for mayor and vice mayor as BOPK’s official bets, my take is that Tomas or Margot Osmeña would run for city mayor with Bimbo Fernandez as the running mate for vice mayor. It’s just a matter of time for Fernandez and the BOPK leaders to coalesce with his party, LP. Remember that in previous elections BOPK supported LP. The big but for Tomas though is health even if he claimed he’s recovered from cancer.

I don’t think that qualification of the candidates for Cebu City mayor and down the line is an issue. Margot Osmeña is qualified and a worthy opponent of VM Mike Rama. Rama’s ability to run the affairs of the city was already tested in his two terms as city mayor and acting city mayor.

This early, former mayor Tomas already criticized the current administration’s response to Covid-19 pandemic. He said the city has one of the highest Covid case rates in the country, the highest at one point. Tomas complained that the current administration ended his Long-Life Medical Assistance Program that delivers medicines to the houses of qualified senior citizens for free and that the City Hospitalization Assistance and Medicines Program (Champ) was reduced to nothing.

On the other hand, talking of Covid-19, let’s caution everyone not to be complacent now that the infection rate has significantly gone down. Let’s maintain the discipline of complying with the minimum health protocols, like correctly wearing the face mask when in public or outside of the residence, avoid the crowd, and maintain social distancing.

The Covid-19 pandemic is certainly an issue against the administration.

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