4 Bando allies snubbed by TRO after SRP vote

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Saturday, August 16, 2014


A DAY after majority of the Cebu City Council authorized Mayor Michael Rama to sell 45.2 hectares in the South Road Properties (SRP), former mayor and south district congressman Tomas Osmeña called to a meeting his allies in the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).

But the four BOPK councilors who co-authored the resolution authorizing Rama to dispose of SRP lots were left out.

They are Councilors Gerardo Carillo, Noel Wenceslao, Roberto Cabarrubias and Richard Osmeña.

The meeting was held Thursday night in the house of the BOPK chief in Barangay Guadalupe. It reportedly started around 7 p.m. and ended around 8:30 p.m.

In an interview, Osmeña said he did not invite the four BOPK councilors to the meeting because, “I don’t know where they are coming from.”

“It wasn’t really a meeting but dinner lang. I just invited a few people over because I am the one cooking and I cannot cook for many people,” he added.

Those who attended the meeting were the seven councilors who opposed the passage of the resolution: Sisinio Andales, Nestor Archival Sr., Lea Japson, Nida Cabrera, Alvin Arcilla, Eugenio Gabuya Jr. and Alvin Dizon.

Osmeña’s wife, Councilor Margarita Osmeña, was not able to attend the meeting as she was still in the United States.

Asked what they discussed, Osmeña said they talked about “everything,” including the resolution that allowed Rama to sell SRP lots.

He, however, did not elaborate, saying he was not able to read the recently approved resolution yet.

Asked if the four councilors are still members of the BOPK, Osmeña said it is something only they can answer. “I just don’t know what’s going on,” he said.

“Well, (being a member of the) BOPK comes from the heart. I don’t know if they’re still BOPK or not,” he said.

Osmeña said he is ready to meet with the four councilors if they ask for it, but that he won’t initiate the meeting.

Andales, in a separate interview, said that during the meeting, they advised Osmeña not to make any drastic moves.

“We are still a group. We are still members of one group. Nag-uban pod mig pangampanya (We campaigned together). I think di pod baya lalim. This is only the issue seguro nga na-sold out sila ngadto sa pikas (Perhaps this is the only issue where they were sold to the other side’s idea),” he said.

Andales said the four BOPK councilors may have been misled on the information that even if they authorized the mayor to sell, the contract of sale will still go back to the council for their final scrutiny.

“I have been practicing for 35 years in court, naa’y legal issue na malusot ba. Maayo unta’g niingon lang nga negotiate wala’y dispose. This is not only negotiate. This covers everything. Klaro man na. Mao na ang gikuyawan nako (It would have been better if the resolution merely authorized the mayor to negotiate, but not yet dispose of the lots. This resolution, however, clearly covers everything. That’s what worries me),” he said.

Interviewed separately, Carillo said that even if he had been invited, he would not have attended because he had to go to Manila.

Carillo pointed out he is not the only one who favors the selling of the SRP lots. During their caucus, he said, all members of the council were supportive of it. They disagreed only on the mode of disposition of the lots.

For him, it would be proper to conduct a public bidding because there are several companies that have expressed interest in buying SRP properties.

An unsolicited proposal, he added, would only be good if there was only one interested buyer.

But while he supported the move to allow Rama to sell SRP lots, Carillo said he still belongs to the BOPK.

“If di ko nila dawaton, pwede ra man. Pwede ra man di ko modagan. (If they will no longer accept me, fine. I can also choose not to run.) But for me, we have to rise above partisan politics. Let’s move on. We cannot delay the development of the city because of politics,” he said.

Carillo also said he still respects Osmeña as his mentor.

Wenceslao, for his part, said he knew there was a BOPK meeting and that he was not invited. While he supported the move to authorize Rama to sell SRP lots, Wenceslao said it didn’t mean he has abandoned BOPK.

He said he sees the need to sell SRP lots so that the City can pay in full for the SRP loan balance, which stands at P3.2 billion.

Cabarrubias said he was surprised he was not invited to the BOPK meeting, adding that it was the first time that happened. However, he also said he respects the prerogative of the BOPK chief. PDF

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 16, 2014.

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