Seares: Mike Rama gets INC's nod and Cris Saavedra's slap (of a complaint). Ask Rajiv Enad, he won't tell if he's gay but pushes for LGBT rights and Abante Minglanilla.

·4 min read

IGLESIA ANOINTMENT. Mayor Michael Rama, running for Cebu City mayor, finally got the endorsement of Iglesia ni Cristo Friday, May 6, after a week of watching other candidates anointed by the religious group. Not actually late, for voters who didn't depend on INC to decide whom to vote for city mayor.

But Mayor Mike had cliff-hanged since Monday, May 2, when his running mate Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia was endorsed and, as of Wednesday, May 4, or, four other Barug bets -- namely, reelectionist councilors Joel Garganera, Jerry Guardo and Jaypee Labella and House north district aspirant Niña Mabatid -- were announced. Or more accurately, the happy candidates, not the INC office, made the announcement.

Iglesia ni Cristo has continued to follow its election playbook: pick the bets that, it is convinced, will support its religious pursuits and have good chances of winning.

The choice of Barug's Rama-Garcia tandem repeats its choice of 2019, when it supported the Edgardo Labella-Mike Rama duo and, theoretically at least, helped it win.

Unlike in Talisay City -- where the INC reportedly endorsed the entire Gullas Alayon slate -- it's a mixed ticket for Cebu City, where the religious group spreads the cheer among selected councilor aspirants in Barug and BOPK. It was six-five in favor of Barug in INC's 2019 pick of councilors.

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SAAVEDRA'S 'TAXPAYER'S COMPLAINT.' Crisologo V. Saavedra Jr., who's also running for Cebu City mayor, has filed with the Visayas ombudsman a complaint against Mayor Mike Rama for entering into contracts that Saavedra alleges are "disadvantageous" to the Government, specifically, for spending public funds on "plywood-size" billboards, with Mike's name and photo on each, which are displayed "all over the city."

Cris Saavedra -- often billed as "a whistleblower" who has "advocated for the past 19 years against abusive and corrupt officials in Cebu" --says he filed last May 4 a taxpayer's complaint against the mayor for the "unnecessary and extravagant" use of public funds and "e-pal" display for his reelection bid as mayor.

People who saw Saavedra go after big political guns in Cebu may be disappointed: the billboards are peanuts compared to the huge projects he went after in the past. And he didn't cite the actual number of billboards or their item cost and total amount involved. He didn't compare prices to show "gross disadvantage." He only attached six photos of the "illegal" and "greedy" billboards.

IN COVID'S NAME. Mayor Mike Rama probably will cite the "ill-timing" (five days before election day). His supporters may say the billboards were used in the city's vaccination campaign: one calls out "Maglikay ta sa Covid-19" and another shows spaces for numbers in the anti-Covid-19 vaccination campaign, such as name of barangay/sitio, target population, number of vaccinated and unvaccinated.

How will the Rama campaign explain the giant image of Mayor Mike, along with his name and the line "vice mayor and city councilors"? There's the statement at the bottom: "Information and education campaign for the City of Cebu."

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ENAD'S LGBT PITCH. Candidate for Minglanilla, Cebu mayor Rajiv Enad was asked by broadcaster Jason Monteclar ("The Not So Late Show") if it's true (1) he is a homosexual and (2) most of his staffers belong to a gender in the LGBT initialism.

Enad (whose name in the COC carries the "Atty." title) wouldn't "dignify" question one but admitted that most of his people are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. They're hard-working, creative and sensitive, he said. With a pitch like "we must accepting them as responsible members" of the community.

In the town's mayors' race, Atty. Rajiv Enad, married, faces Jigger Selma Canedo -- who also faces another Jiger Canedo, with one "g" and no middle name, but a sure-fire cause of post-election protest if the "wrong" Canedo wins. Jigger Selma Canedo is Aksyon, while Jiger Canedo is independent. Atty. Rajiv is NP.

About "kamangay" (a sexual term applied to election eve campaigning in voters' houses), Atty. Enad said it's OK if his wife would do it, as some critics allege, "basta ako lay kamangon" and OK if he did it too, "basta akong asawa lay akong kamangon."

Does that count in judging heterosexuality? Abante Minglanilla!

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