AFTER giving a hint of going independent, Cebu City Councilor Donaldo “Dondon” Hontiveros has confirmed that he may run as an independent candidate in the next elections.
In a statement posted on his Facebook page on Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, Hontiveros also denied that he was disappointed at not having been chosen as a possible candidate for vice mayor by his partymates in Partido Barug.
Hontiveros said Barug can now come up with its list of candidates for the 2022 elections as the filing of certificates of candidacy, which is in October, is approaching, adding he is still weighing his options for 2022.
“By publicly announcing that I may run as an independent, I confirmed to our party that they can draft their lineup now without me,” said Hontiveros in a statement.
He also clarified that his trip to Manila has the approval of Vice Mayor Michael Rama, and that this has nothing to do with the rumor that he got hurt after not being chosen to run for the vice mayor’s post in the 2022 elections.
“Wala ko mangluod kay wala ko pilia isip kandidato pagka-vice mayor sa among partido (I was not dismayed that I was not chosen as our party’s candidate for the vice mayor position). Let’s get that out of the way,” said Hontiveros.
Hontiveros is currently in Manila for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) bubble. He serves as an assistant coach of the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
He assured his obligation to his team has not compromised his duty as city councilor, especially with the City Council now holding sessions online.
He said he was also tasked by Rama to observe and learn the measures on anti-mendicancy of the other local government units while in Manila.
On Friday, Sept. 3, Councilors Hontiveros and Phillip Zafra had both posted the word “INDEPENDENT” on their Facebook accounts.
Rama told SunStar Cebu that though he was able to talk with Hontiveros and Zafra, he still has “to go deeper” on this development, adding he has yet to fully understand the real reasons.
“I’m not able to get to the bottom. Somehow, that is something that I need to look into,” said Rama.
Rama said he could not recall any conflict among party members or ugly circumstances within Barug that led to this new development.
Now that Zafra and Hontiveros have publicly announced that they are going independent, Rama said he would not be surprised if this would affect the voting in the City Council.
Zafra confirmed on Sept. 4 that he will be leaving Barug.
In a separate interview, Councilor James Anthony Cuenco said he was also “seriously considering doing so myself.”
Both Zafra and Hontiveros are on their first term as councilors. They both come from the south district of Cebu City.
Zafra was village chief of Barangay Tisa for two terms, from 2013 to 2019. He became the president of the Association of Barangay Councils in 2013.
Hontiveros, known by his basketball moniker “Cebuano Hotshot,” played in the PBA for 17 years. He got the highest number of votes when he ran for a seat in the City Council’s south district for the first time in 2019. (JJL)