Poll results in Cebu City-A A +A
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
YOU win some, you lose some. That was what happened in Monday’s barangay elections in Cebu City as far as the two main contending political factions, the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) of former mayor Tomas Osmeña and Ream Rama of Mayor Michael Rama, are concerned. The results showed how well-fought the political battles there were.
Rama’s group has claimed that its allies won at least 41 barangay captain seats.
That’s a very slim majority considering that the city has 80 barangays. A Sun.Star Cebu reporter said that BOPK officials claimed taking 37 barangay captain seats. That leaves two barangay captain winners unaccounted for. Let us just say they are BOPK
The operative word there is “ally.” It would be wrong for either the BOPK or Team Rama to claim their “allied” barangay captains as members. That would contradict the insistence of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that barangay elections are non-partisan.
What makes the accounting of the results of the barangay polls in Cebu City interesting is the fact that Rama defeated Osmeña by the slimmest of margins in the May 13 national and local elections. Osmeña filed an electoral protest after that and a manual recount is currently being conducted in Manila.
If the claim by Team Rama about the number of its allies that won in the barangay polls is true, then the results of Monday’s political exercise only showed that no group was able to outpace the other. Their political strengths are still virtually even. Still, the Rama seems to be gaining on the BOPK in the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC).
The ABC, whose chapter head becomes ex-officio member of the Cebu City Council, has long been the turf of the BOPK. Thus a BOPK ally, T. Padilla Barangay Captain Michael Ralota, is a member of the city council. But that may change now if Rama’s camp plays its card well. It could mean the next ABC chapter head will no longer be from BOPK.
That wouldn’t change the complexion of the city council where only four councilors are with Team Rama (plus the presiding officer, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella).
Only one council member will be subtracted from the current 13 BOPK-allied councilors. And only one councilor will be added to the minority Team Rama council members.
But it will provide a psychological boost to Rama and his team nevertheless. The mayor’s group wresting control of the ABC can already be considered a victory second only in significance to Rama’s win over Osmeña last May. It means BOPK’s dominance in the city has weakened.
The incumbent’s goal is always to consolidate his or her power while he or she still wields it. Rama wasn’t able to do that well in his first term mainly because the BOPK has turned out to be a tough nut to crack. The result of the barangay elections may be a sign that Team Rama has succeeded in punching more holes into the nut’s covering.
Of course, wresting control of the ABC is not a given for Team Rama. I am sure the maneuvering will immediately start after all the winners have been proclaimed. The tug-of-war would be intense. That’s where the next test for both the BOPK and Team Rama will come from.
Interestingly, some of the elected barangay captains can be considered Team Rama stalwarts. Althea Lim of Barangay Pardo and Felicisimo Rupinta of Barangay Ermita were in Team Rama’s slate for councilor last May but lost. Joel Garganera of Tinago and reelectionists George Rama of Barangay Basak-San Nicolas and Jose Navarro of Barangay Punta Princesa are veteran opposition leaders. They will surely be among those who will vie for the ABC’s top post.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 30, 2013.