EXPLAINER: What 3 independent or outside-the-2-major-parties aspirants offer Cebu City voters. How they try to hurdle the 'disadvantage'

·4 min read

THE three are Councilor David Tumulak who’s running for mayor; former city administrator Bimbo Fernandez, for vice mayor; and former councilor Avenescio Piramide, for congressman in Cebu City’s north district.

COMMON GROUND. They share a common ground and that is, they’re outside the two major local political parties, the Osmena group BOPK (Bando Osmena Pundok Kauswagan) and the anti-Osmena group Partido Barug, which have dominated the city’s politics. Look:

[1] Tumulak is affiliated with Barug but filed his certificate of candidacy as an independent because the party has its own official candidate for mayor, incumbent Mayor Michael Rama.

[2] Fernandez has been associated with BOPK chief Tomas Osmena but registered as the Liberal Party’s only candidate in Cebu City. And BOPK has its official candidate for vice mayor, Councilor Franklyn Ong. Bimbo initially filed a COC for mayor but slid down when former Councilor Margot Osmena and Tomas Osmena’s wife, substituted Representative Rodrigo Abellanosa as BOPK bet for mayor.

Bimbo admits that he and the LP “don’t have a political machinery in Cebu.”

[3] Piramide says he is “NOT” (capitalization is his) an independent candidate. He is a candidate of Lakas-CMD (Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats), to which, he said, he is a loyal member, having served as its district chairman in 1998.

FORMIDABLE ODDS. In the last two decades or so, would anyone recall, did any candidate outside the two major groups (Osmena and anti-Osmena) become Cebu City mayor, vice mayor, or district congressman?

Categorize, if you will, Tumulak, Fernandez, and Piramide as “disadvantaged” in machinery and resources. Yet they may have the grit to pull it off and upset well-oiled political parties’ strategies and expectations.

Their insights may help explain why some people, who’re generally in the mainstream and know what it takes, still want to battle seemingly formidable odds.

What they offer

TUMULAK: I can offer my unwavering commitment to public service and a new brand of governance -- a consultative governance.

I still have my youth, relatively. Like a general in battle, ever since, I am always in the forefront of pandemic response or any public-service activity... A man of action, I should say. I express my commitment through action, not mere words or promises of progress... Because of my youth, I can still adapt to new technology, as I have adopted new technology in post-pandemic recovery platforms, such as automated transactions and online services.

FERNANDEZ: I run to promote the Movement for Transformative Politics: “walay kwartahay, walay ilaray, walay hulgaay, walay kurap.” We advocate “ang lungsod hari” during and after elections, respect for basic human rights, such as life, housing, education, health, environment, etc. for all but especially the poor who need the government the most. All these are possible if we eliminate corruption.

PIRAMIDE: I am the only lawyer among the congressional aspirants. The Constitution says that “legislative power is vested in a Congress of the Philippines.” That defines the kind of service required of a congressman as the constitutional provision outlines the job of a congressman as to make, alter or repeal laws. Cebuano voters are very intelligent. They know that a lawyer with impeccable credentials and unmatched experience is available to serve them. They must prefer him.

Being open-minded, independent

TUMULAK: On consultative governance, I am open-minded, whatever political party the idea comes from as long as it is beneficial to constituents, I will adopt it. I find disheartening the rejection of a politician’s program if he belongs to a rival party. Programs and platforms must be judged on their merit. I have served under different local executives. Thus, I speak from experience.

FERNANDEZ: My advocacies are better off by running as independent. But I welcome the unconditional/principled

support of everyone, including political parties.

Making up for what they lack

TUMULAK: I will give more of my time and work harder than anyone else. Although I don’t have an institutionalized political machinery, I have people who believe in my capability and passion, who in their own little ways, are doing volunteer work and helping me in my cause. That is fulfilling, satisfying even. It keeps my passion burning.

FERNANDEZ: I believe that if people are given the proper choice, they will vote intelligently. Through the years I have supported the urban poor, the farmers and the low-income households. I have always tried to exercise good governance in my 53 years of service with various non-government and government organizations. I am not new in public service. People know me. I do not need to sell myself.

PIRAMIDE: I am positive of the support of Lakas-CMD.

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