Swing vote is with Cabarrubias

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Saturday, August 30, 2014


THERE may not be a “renegade four” in the Cebu City Council, after all. Or this looks more like The Three Musketeers without D’Artagnan. Councilor Gerardo Carillo’s “all for one, one for all” talk may therefore apply only to three, not four “renegades.”

Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias was abroad when the city council tackled the resolution that allowed Mayor Michael Rama to sell lots at the South Road Properties (SRP). That resolution was signed by five Team Rama-aligned councilors together with Cabarrubias,
Carillo and Councilors Noel Wenceslao and Richard Osmeña.

Cabarrubias was still abroad when Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) chief Tomas Osmeña gathered the BOPK-aligned councilors who opposed the passage of the resolution to his house. Again, he was abroad when Carillo announced that the four who joined
Team Rama councilors in signing the “sell SRP” resolution had bolted BOPK.

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I wrote in a previous column that the only way Osmeña could negate the effect of four BOPK-aligned councilors bolting the party is to woo back at least one of them.

With all the four siding with Team Rama councilors when measures are voted on, the alliance gains a slim majority (9-8) in the city council. But if one of the four sticks with BOPK, the said party also gets a slim majority (also 9-8). For the BOPK, it is a matter of finding a weak chain among the “renegade” councilors.

It does seem like the BOPK has found that weak link with Cabarrubias. Reports say that when he returned from abroad, he immediately denied he was bolting the BOPK. He even joined a caucus of councilors belonging to the said party and, as expected, was welcomed instead of being ostracized. That puts into question his being included in the newly created independent bloc in the city council.

The test for Cabarrubias will actually be when matters that are close to the BOPK chief’s heart are tackled by the city council. What would be his stance when, say, the mayor finds SRP lots buyers and the contracts for the sale are sent to the city council for approval?

With this development, the votes of Carillo, Wenceslao and Osmeña will no longer be crucial. Where Cabarrubias would align could determine which side would get the majority. The real swing vote may actually be with him.

***

One prosecutor finally did what a panel of prosecutors refused to do. Jesus Rodrigo Tagaan, who was designated acting provincial prosecutor so he can handle the Noel Archival case, has found probable cause to indict three former Highway Patrol Group (HPG) 7 members for the killing of Archival and two of his aides and the wounding of another.

Tagaan, a Lapu-Lapu City deputy prosecutor, recommended the filing of a case against Senior Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, Senior Insp. Joselito Lerion and PO1 Alex Bacani.

Dropped were Chief Insp. Eduardo Mara and SPO4 Edwin Galan.

I am glad that the case is finally moving. Archival and his aides were ambushed in February yet, meaning that the case meandered at the Department of Justice level for six months. This was because the former HPG 7 officials succeeded in finding ways to delay the filing of the case in court and the issuance of warrants of arrest against them.

For Tagaan, here’s a pat on the back. He showed that the post of Lapu-Lapu City deputy prosecutor may be too lowly when ranged against the kind of courage he possesses.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 30, 2014.

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