Editorial: Battle for supremacy-A A +A
Monday, October 7, 2013
IT wasn’t supposed to be a partisan activity but the distribution by the Cebu City Government last Friday and Saturday of the second tranche of the financial assistance to senior citizens showed the grip politics has in the city’s barangays going to the Oct. 28 polls.
The distribution of the financial aid had long been delayed, with the opposition Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) and its allies questioning the financial status of the city because of this.
In turn, Mayor Michael Rama decided to distribute the financial assistance a few days before the filing of the certificates of candidacy for the barangay elections. That must have caught BOPK stalwarts by surprise judging from their reaction to it.
Much is at stake for both the BOPK and Team Rama in the barangay polls. BOPK chief Tomas Osmeña wants to prove that he has not been pushed into irrelevance by his defeat to Rama in the May elections. Rama, on the other hand, is using his win in May to strengthen his hold on the city.
The outcome of the barangay elections is seen as crucial in 2016 when Osmeña and Rama are expected to battle again for the post of mayor.
It wasn’t surprising, therefore, when the hands of both Rama and Osmeña were seen in the senior citizens activity.
Rama timing the distribution right smack into the election season was seen by Osmeña’s camp as an attempt by his group to give an advantage to the candidates they are supporting. BOPK-allied barangay captains were in turn reportedly instructed to padlock gyms used as distribution sites.
During the distribution itself, some would-be candidates for the elections from both the camps of Team Rama and BOPK attempted to use the affair to gain electoral advantage. And the tug-of-war can only intensify once the campaign period officially starts.
The stress is on the word “officially” because the campaigning has already started in almost all barangays, with candidates hanging tarpaulins in strategic locations and doing the rounds in their respective jurisdictions, egged on by Comelec officials’ admission they could not go after the early campaigners.
If what happened during the distribution of financial assistance to senior citizens were to be used as gauge, expect the barangay-level polls in the city to be intensely fought not only by the candidates themselves but also by their patrons who are involved in city-level politics.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 08, 2013.