It is still five months and half before the filing of the certificate of candidacy starts in October for the May 2022 national and local elections. But some politicians seeking local posts seem already in the campaign trail. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, some aspirants are already conducting “pulong-pulongs” (dialogue/interactions) with voters in the barangay levels. Some are visiting the barangays for consultation with barangay officials in the guise of looking into their basic problems. This is evidenced in their social media posts.
In the city, the political situation is still fluid. The administration’s Barug Party, sources said, is still ironing out the “inevitable conflict” between Mayor Edgardo Labella and Vice Mayor Michael Rama after the latter repeatedly said that he is considering running for the city’s top post. Labella still has two terms to serve and is determined to seek reelection if his health permits. Labella and Rama both know what will happen if they face each other. The opposition, Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), whoever they will be fielding, will be laughing at the due advantage.
But even the BOPK has no final decision yet as to who will run for mayor. As of this time, outgoing South District Rep. Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa and Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president and ex-officio City Councilor Franklyn Ong, are groomed to be the mayoral and vice mayoral candidates, respectively. We see it on their social media posts and their aggressive campaign trail and propaganda.
But my source said there is no fixed and final decision yet. It will depend on the surveys the group will conduct. If Abellanosa will show good ratings, maybe it will be him. But if not, former Mayor Tomas Osmeña will be running for mayor instead. As of this time, Tomas is eyeing the south congressional district. That’s if they cannot convince his wife, former city councilor Margot Osmeña to run for Congress in the south. Mrs. Osmeña has been repeatedly saying she has quit politics. But you know, as the saying goes, only fools and dead men don’t change their mind. Margot is highly qualified for the position having served in the City Council for the past three terms.
For Barug in the south district, it will be a toss between former city councilor Joy Pesquera and Aristotol “Totol” Batuhan, who are also both equally qualified being lawyers. A source said that Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) chairman of the board Joey Daluz is also interested in the position. For the north district congressional race, BOPK might support the candidacy of former Rep. Rachel “Cutie” Del Mar, daughter of the late congressman Raul del Mar, who promised to follow in her father’s footsteps and pursue his unfinished dreams. For Barug, it might be a toss between TV actor Richard Yap, who ran and lost in the 2019 elections, and Councilor Niña Mabatid, who recently showed interest in the congressional seat.
For the mayoral race, if Labella and Osmeña will face off, performance, character and health issues might be the major issues. Tomas, as we all know, underwent a urinary bladder cancer operation and is tucking a plastic bag for his urine. While Labella had been hospitized due to an infection and had to work from home for the past several months as per doctor’s advice. He has been rumored to be suffering from a serious ailment, but he denied it. But I think he is in good condition now because he is frequently seen at the Cebu City Sports Center walking with his “Walk and Talk Friendship Club” buddies.
Our present crop of politicians are not getting any younger. In due time, they have to fade away either by retiring, or be incapacitated or dead. I am not cursing them as all of us are going there. We are not indispensable. It is time for them to train the next generation as we need fresh blood and new ideas in our political system. The young generation will bring and introduce changes and reforms to our political landscape.
For example, why won’t Tomas and Margot allow or train their unico hijo Miguel to join politics? It’s time for Miguel to shine on his own in politics, not just doing a role under the shadow of his parents. The Osmeñas are fading away. Among their siblings, nobody is following in the footsteps of the late Senator Sonny Osmeña, Lito Osmeña and former senator Serge Osmeña, especially in national politics. In due time, Tomas will also fade away. I am sure, if properly trained and with the guidance of his parents, Miguel will surpass the performance of his dad.
He is highly qualified being foreign educated. In fact, he graduated cum laude at the University of California Los Angeles. If Miguel was involved in some controversy in the past, maybe it was part of his growing up. We, too, go through that period and overcome it. Why not include him in the south district councilorial slate this coming elections? Tomas has already many legacies to speak off. One is the South Road Properties and the forthcoming Bus Rapid Transit. Let Miguel pursue his unfinished dreams.
Disclosure: I am facing four libel cases before the Regional Trial Court filed by Miguel.
But that is beside the point. I am looking at the potential of the man. He could be a good leader like his father.