Cebu mayor, former lawmaker form alliance

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Monday, February 27, 2012

CEBU CITY – Mayor Michael Rama and former congressman Antonio Cuenco announced Sunday their alliance for the 2013 elections, saying they will campaign for the Liberal Party and against the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).

In a press conference, Cuenco said he decided to support Rama’s reelection bid because the mayor “is a man of great character” and both of them want unity in Cebu.

“I have decided to go back to my old post in Congress so that I can continue my fight against illegal drugs. Mayor Rama is definitely my ally and a friend whose local government policy I agree with,” Cuenco said.


Cuenco also showed reporters a manifesto of support for his congressional bid, signed by 30 out of 34 barangay captains in Cebu City’s south district.

The district’s incumbent congressman, Representative Tomas Osmeña, said he believes the alliance will not hurt his and the BOPK’s chances in the 2013 elections.

The Cuencos and Ramas are among the strongest political families in the city’s south district. With their alliance, it will be the first in about 20 years that the two families will campaign against Congressman Osmeña’s BOPK.

When asked if he has already left BOPK, Cuenco said, “The thing (his alliance with Rama) speaks for itself.”

“I want Rama to be reelected. He is for unity and I am in favor of unity. He is a humble person and the Cebu City electorate needs a mayor with humility,” Cuenco added.

Rama said that Cuenco’s decision to form an alliance is “a big addition” to the support he is also gaining from other political and business leaders.


“God is before us. There is an unfolding of events and some people are drawn to our side. The people are siding with us. It is just a matter of time,” Rama said.

“Manggawas ra ni sila (They will reveal themselves at some point). The whole (political) landscape will be finished in due time,” he added.

Rama said he is confident that President Benigno Aquino III and Liberal Party president Mar Roxas will make good their promise to support him in his reelection bid.

Interviewed separately, Osmeña pointed out that when he first ran for mayor in 1988, his opponent was Jose Cuenco, the former congressman’s brother. Rama was then a councilor.

Osmeña said both Cuenco and Rama were supported by assemblywoman Nenita “Inday Nita” Daluz, a popular figure against the Marcos dictatorship, and the late president Corazon Aquino who, he said, even sent her daughter Kris Aquino to campaign for them.

“But I never lose faith with the Cebuanos,” the congressman said. He recalled asking urban poor families to help him counter 90 percent of the barangay officials who were against BOPK then.

“Well, I won in the barangays of the Ramas, Inday Nita and Cuenco. I even won in Tony Cuenco’s precinct,” Osmeña said.


“There is a good chance that the Cebuanos will not side with the group that hopes I am going to die,” he added.

Osmeña said he will address the issue further in a news conference when he returns to Cebu after the sessions in Congress.

Among those present at the Cuenco and Rama press conference Sunday was City Councilor Jose Daluz III, a BOPK ally and the late Inday Nita’s son.

Asked about it, Daluz told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview Sunday that he is supporting Cuenco in the 2013 polls, along with whoever the former congressman supports for the mayoral election.

“It’s up to BOPK how they will perceive my move,” he said. The councilor said, though, that he still adheres to the principles of BOPK.

Daluz said he has already informed Osmeña and his wife, City Councilor Margarita Osmeña, that he will be supporting Cuenco and Rama in the 2013 elections.

“I have to face the consequences (of my decisions). Sige lang. Life goes on. This is politics,” he said. (EOB/PDF of Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 27, 2012.

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