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Saturday, October 6, 2012
ACCOMPANIED by thousands of supporters and several celebrities, members of Team Rama filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) yesterday morning for the May 2013 elections.
The last day of the filing of the COC was star-studded because Team Rama’s north district congressional candidate, Anabelle Rama, brought her family and some of her talents in the city.
The election period does not officially start until Jan. 13, 2013. Candidates for Congress and provincial, city and municipal offices are supposed to campaign only from March 29 to May 11, 2013.
But if the last day of the filing of COCs was any indication, the campaign that will pit Team Rama against Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) will be attended by large crowds.
BOPK displayed its own bit of theatrics, when it was finally revealed yesterday that former congressman Raul del Mar will be their candidate for north district representative.
It was his daughter, Rep. Rachel Marguerite del Mar, who walked around with the envelope carrying two COCs—her own and that of her father.
The former congressman denied that BOPK was threatened by Anabelle Rama’s potential to command a large crowd because of the celebrities, including her own children, she can bring to the campaign.
“They don’t matter. We are not threatened by anything,” said former congressman del Mar.
Spotted by the public yesterday were Anabelle’s husband, Eddie Gutierrez, their children Ruffa, Raymond, Richard and Elvis, as well as her stepsons Tonton Gutierrez and Ramon Christopher Gutierrez. Also seen were Anabelle’s talents, including Arci Muñoz, Ehra Madrigal and Michelle Madrigal.
“The crowd is really huge. In my 18 years as vice mayor and councilor and two years and two months of being a mayor, I cannot remember seeing such a huge crowd during the filing of COCs. It’s a good start,” said Mayor Michael Rama.
Aside from the celebrities, the City’s Public Information Office (PIO) office said some 5,000 supporters joined Team Rama in filing their COCs.
The PIO said that 109 chapters of senior citizens’ groups brought along 40 members each, at least.
Former south district congressman Antonio Cuenco, youth groups and the supporters of each Team Rama candidate were also there.
Before proceeding to the poll body’s office yesterday, Team Rama and their supporters heard mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
In his homily, Msgr. Roberto Alesna told the candidates, particularly the incumbent, to continue serving the public in the midst of campaigning for the May 2013 elections.
“The purpose of elections is to serve the common good of the people and not to serve your own selves. Elected leaders should continue to focus on public service even until the 2013 elections,” he said.
After the mass, the members of Team Rama, wearing green and yellow shirts and jackets, paraded to the Comelec office. Their supporters, bringing green and yellow balloons, posters, and Team Rama puppets, joined them.
Mayor Rama, in a news conference yesterday, said he was overwhelmed by the huge crowd who supported them in their filing of the COCs.
Rama said his group will be meeting to discuss their strategy for the campaign period. “With oneness, this group will stand the test of time,” he added.
The BOPK, where Rama belonged until 2011, put off until the last minute their announcement of who between the del Mars would run for Congress.
It was only when all the south district candidates were done with their filing that Congresswoman del Mar handed to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Cebu City South District Election Officer Edwin Cadungog her father’s COC.
The congresswoman said she wanted to give way to her father, albeit, the latter left it to her to decide which COC to file before the Comelec. They also visited Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma yesterday morning, before announcing the decision.
BOPK standard-bearer Rep. Tomas Osmeña said Raul’s decision to try to return to Congress will be advantageous to Cebu City because he is considered a senior congressman.
“He even has a chance of winning the speakership,” said Osmeña.
Rep. del Mar agreed.
Before the filing of COCs, BOPK heard mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, in a church filled with their supporters.
The mass was officiated by Msgr. Roberto Alesna, who also officiated the morning mass of Team Rama yesterday.
In his homily, Alesna said he prepared the same message for both parties, which is to serve the people well, especially those who have less in life.
After the filing, BOPK candidates who filed their COCs under the Liberal Party proceeded to the nearby Mariner’s Court for a get-together.
In a brief press conference, Osmeña, Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young and Councilor Michael Ralota answered allegations of a plot to field a certain Marietta delos Santos to foil the candidacy of Lahug Councilwoman Mary Ann delos Santos.
“We don’t need to do that… She (Councilwoman delos Santos) is a two-time loser,” said Osmeña, referring to delos Santos’ losses in the last two city elections, when she ran for mayor (2007) and then congresswoman (2010).
Ralota, who was identified as one of three people who allegedly offered Marietta P200,000 to run, is contemplating on filing a libel complaint against the people behind the allegations.
Young said it is not BOPK’s tactic to field nuisance candidates. BOPK, he added, seems to be the victim of nuisance candidates, as in the last elections when there were people made to run to foil the candidacies of Mayor Rama, then a member of BOPK, Young and Councilors Alvin Arcilla, Nida Cabrera and Roberto Cabarrubias.
Garbed in their signature yellow and blue shirts, BOPK candidates filed their COCs past 3 p.m.
Rep. Osmeña wants to regain his seat as mayor of Cebu City, while Young is seeking reelection against his colleague at the Council, Councilor Labella.
Councilor Rodrigo Abellanosa is the group’s candidate for congressman in the south district. He does not intend to engage his opponent, lawyer Aristotle Batuhan, claiming that the latter’s statements will be “empty words” as he is not even a true representative of the Cebuanos after living in Manila for many years.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 06, 2012.