IT seems like the battle to gain control of the Cebu City Council is not about to end with the majority back in the hands of Barug Team Rama. It is now the turn of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) to try to launch an offensive to regain the majority. The recent city council session showed once more that Barug Team Rama just can’t be complacent.
City Councilor Sisinio Andales had attempted to have Philip Zafra, an ex-officio member of the legislative body as head of the city’s Association of Barangay Councils, vacate his post by noting a recent memorandum issued by the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG).
The memo cited a provision in the Local Government Code that states that ex-officio members “shall serve as such only during their term of office as presidents of the liga chapters, which in no case shall be beyond the term of office of the sanggunian concerned.” Andales then claimed that Zafra’s term already ended in June last year, when the newly elected members of the city council assumed office.
Andales eventually backed off after seeing that his arguments have no leg to stand on, but it exposed what Osmeña and the BOPK are currently obsessed with.
Barug Team Rama’s majority is fragile even with the addition of Renato “Junjun” Osmeña Jr. in the city council as replacement of the resigned Nendell Hanz Abella. Just one or two Barug Team Rama shifting allegiance or being taken out of the equation could already change the complexion of the city council and allow the BOPK to regain control of the legislative body.
Which also means that next year’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections is crucial. Whoever manages to have the most number of barangay captains and SK heads win in that election would be able to gain control of the city council. Zafra could be replaced as ABC president by a BOPK barangay captain. And a new SK federation head would be elected after then and added to the city council as ex-officio member. That ex-officio member could be with the BOPK.
As long as the majority hold of either Barug Team Rama or BOPK remains fragile, no camp can rest easy. The maneuvering will continue.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 28, 2017.
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