Nalzaro: Labella still the voters’ choice—survey

Bobby Nalzaro
·4 min read

It is still over a year before the May 2022 local and presidential elections. But it seems that some politicians are now floating their names and their desire to seek elected positions on social media. Well, the earlier, the better. While others are just testing the political waters to assess voter acceptability and maybe their chances of winning.

Like it or not, social media and politics have become inseparable. That is because so much of our political discourse happens through the social media. Why? Because social media has the ability to break news in real time and has transformed the way we absorb information.

If you notice, almost all politicians, especially those incumbents, have their own social media accounts. Most have taken to regular live streaming of their daily activities on Facebook and Instagram as a way to interact with voters and their constituents.

If you have noticed on Facebook, the names of south district Councilor Eduardo “Edu” Rama and north district Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia have been “floated” as possible tandem for mayor and vice mayor, respectively. But before their names and faces surfaced on social media, I already heard this from City Hall insiders.

Rama’s and Garcia’s names are floated because the possible arrangement for the local elections by the present local administration party is this: Edu for mayor, Garcia for vice mayor, while incumbent Mayor Edgardo Labella and Vice Mayor Mike Rama will run for Congress in the north and south district, respectively. This formula has been floated to avert any political clash between Labella and Mike Rama, who is determined to run for mayor. If that scenario happens, that could be very detrimental to the two of them and would give due advantage to the opposition.

For the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), if Tomas Osmeña will not run, they will possibly field outgoing south district Rep. Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa for mayor and Association of Barangay Council (ABC) Federation President Franklyn Ong for vice mayor. That is why you also notice on FB the hashtag #SanaONG. #SerbisyONG totoo. But for sure, Franklyn is not the ONGo (witch) at City Hall referred to by Councilor Niña Mabatid.

In the north congressional race, BOPK leadership will still decide who among Cutie del Mar, Councilor Nestor Archival and Joy Young to support. Sources said the party leadership is also considering Vice Gov. Hilario “Junjun” Davide III. If Davide will transfer his voter’s registration in Cebu City one year before the May elections, well, that’s it. In the south, it could be Margot Osmeña.

All of them are qualified. But if we will examine them individually, I don’t think these personalities aspiring for the mayorship have the capability and expertise to lead the city. Would they be a good administrator? What are the significant and remarkable achievements of Edu in the City Council? Garcia is highly qualified to head the City Council because he is a lawyer. All he has to do is to preside over the Council.

Experience -wise, Bebot has the advantage because he served in the Council and in Congress for a longer period. But then again, like Edu, what were Bebot’s remarkable achievements in Congress? Ong, with his experience also, can effectively manage the Council. Playing the role as a presiding officer can be learned.

But, you know, if elections were held today, Mayor Labella would still be the voters’ preference to be the mayor. This is based on the socio-political survey results conducted last December 2020 that was commissioned by an independent group headed by a University of the Philippines Cebu professor. The survey was conducted before the mayor was hospitalized last January and held office for more than a month in his house. Labella got the highest approval trust rating with 65.8 percent compared to his closest opponent, Tomas Osmeña with 30.9 percent, with 3.3 percent abstaining or undecided. The survey covered all urban and mountain barangays and the respondents came from different age groups. Respondents also gave Labella the high rating in his performance in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Included in the survey are the trust ratings of President Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo; Mayor Labella’s leadership, management, personality indicators; and the councilors’ level of awareness. Maybe these survey results would encourage Labella to seek reelection if his health condition will permit.