Kusug’s endorsement-A A +A
Monday, March 4, 2013
TO THE Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), the endorsement by the Kugi Uswag Sugbo (Kusug) of the candidates of Team Rama was expected. That reaction by BOPK, I would say, was also expected. So too the downplaying of Kusug’s organizational strength (way kusog ang Kusug).
I wrote in one of my columns before about the need for Kusug, which is not fielding any candidate in the May elections, to stay relevant in the coming political exercise if it does not want to become irrelevant in 2016. I therefore think that the gathering of Kusug leaders at the Grand Convention Center last Sunday was a step in the right direction.
It’s easy to put down Kusug’s endorsement considering that the group went moribund after its candidates lost in the 2010 elections. But it is trying to reconstitute itself, which hopefully is not only for show. And whether Kusug is stronger now or is weaker does not matter. Politics is addition and any support candidates get would benefit them.
That’s why I am amused by the downplaying by the BOPK of Kusug’s endorsement of Team Rama. I remember the rumor months before the deadline of the filing of the certificates of candidacy that said that BOPK chief Tomas Osmeña and his bitter rival, former Cebu City mayor Alvin Garcia, were talking and that the latter’s son Raymond might be included in the BOPK slate for councilor.
I waited for Osmeña to shoot the rumor down but he let it fly, obviously because he wasn’t closing his door to a possible tie-up with his old rival against reelectionist mayor Michael Rama. At that time, Osmeña was busy dividing the groups opposed to the BOPK. He wooed Kusug-aligned barangay captains (he invited them to his birthday party) and had Kusug stalwart Eugenio Gabuya run for councilor under the BOPK banner.
Remember that high-profile Osmeña “reconciliation” with his other bitter rival, businessman Jonathan Guardo? The two engaged in a “battle royale” for the congressional post in the city’s south district in 2010 and their verbal exchange was lively. Still, he welcomed Guardo with open arms because it was in keeping with his divide-and-rule strategy.
Before Kusug’s gathering last Sunday, nobody knew if the BOPK would succeed in luring away the said party from Team Rama. In the 2010 elections, Rama, who was then with BOPK, battled Alvin for the post of mayor. In 2007, Rama, who was with BOPK, battled Raymond for the post of vice mayor. Rama and the Garcias, therefore, have a political history that many thought would prevent the latter from supporting the former.
So it was possible until then that Kusug would not support Team Rama. And if it wouldn’t do so, then its leaders and supporters would go their own way, drifting either to Team Rama or the BOPK. That would have fallen snugly into the divide-and-rule strategy, meaning the main beneficiary of that would be the BOPK.
And imagine if Kusug endorsed BOPK instead of Team Rama. Would the BOPK have downplayed the “strength” of Kusug?
Kusug’s endorsement of Team Rama is a blow to Osmeña’s divide-and-rule strategy. Indeed, while Kusug has lost in many political battles against the BOPK, Osmeña also knows that the May elections are a different ballgame altogether. While he has defeated Alvin, he still has to defeat Rama in a head-to-head duel. He does not know how strong Rama is. More so now that Kusug has endorsed Team Rama.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 05, 2013.