SOME sectors have raised a valid point about the reports that Cebu City south district Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa divested his share from the Asian College of Technology (ACT), now known as the Asian College of Technology International Education Foundation (ACTIEF). Indeed, how true is the claim? Seeing proof that could withstand scrutiny is important considering the controversy Abellanosa and ACTIEF are in.

It does seem a stretch that Abellanosa, who took over ACT’s ownership and nurtured the institution while he engaged in politics, first as barangay captain, then as Cebu City councilor and finally as member of the House of Representatives, would exchange his control of the school for a fleeting stint as politician. To whom did Abellanosa sell his shares in ACTIEF? What is his relation to the buyer?

Abellanosa is currently on the warpath against Mayor Michael Rama, who not only refused to pay the money the Cebu City Government owed to the scholars enrolled in ACTIEF but also blocked his (Abellanosa’s) projects—the proposed tunnel along Natalio Bacalso Ave. and the setting up of a Cebu Technological University branch in Barangay Bonbon.

It may also just be mere coincidence that ACTIEF is also on the warpath against Rama, issuing press statements and filing a case against the mayor. The latter act was accompanied by drama with some of the affected scholars and their parents as bit players, carrying placards like they were in a political rally.

As I said before, it is easy to point out the strategy that the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) is adopting against Rama for the 2016 elections in much the same way that Team Rama’s political strategy has also been exposed. BOPK’s tack is to portray the mayor as incompetent, among other things. Team Rama’s is to cut BOPK’s fund sources.

Given current political realities, one can be suspicious of ACTIEF’s recent antics.

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So former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña and not his his wife, Councilor Margot Osmeña, will be BOPK’s standard-bearer in the May 2016 election? Osmeña formally made known his intention in talks with reporters the other day, claiming that he wants to be mayor because of Mayor Michael Rama’s shortcomings.

Days ago, I actually asked a colleague whether Osmeña would run and he said yes. My colleague based his answer on the possibility that south district Rep.

Rodrigo Abellanosa will run for reelection. Abellanosa and Osmeña helped each other in the 2013 polls where Osmeña almost won. Historically, the pairing is productive, although the Office of the Ombudsman still has a say on that. The anti-graft office dismissed Abellanosa from public service for conflict of interest in relation to the city’s scholarship program. He has filed a motion for reconsideration.

I also talked with a political leader in a barangay in the south district about the matter and he expressed the belief Osmeña will run for mayor but for a different reason. There are rumors that results of a survey conducted by the BOPK showed that Margot lagged behind Tommy for the post of mayor.

The barangay leader agreed about this. He said that if one excludes Tommy from the equation, Margot is the BOPK’s strongest mayoral bet. But between Tommy and Margot, it is a no-brainer who is stronger. Indeed, Margot may be charming but she lacks Tommy’s strength of will and hardness. The latter trait was the reason why Tommy lorded it over the city’s politics for too long. He whipped everybody into line.

Or to put it in another way, fear as much as loyalty is what is forcing the BOPK and its supporters not to let go of Tommy. Unfortunately for him, the fear factor has weakened considerably after his defeat to Rama in 2013. He needs to run again and win so the fear factor can be regained.

But can he win over Rama, who now controls majority of the city’s barangay captains? In contests like this, the edge is always with the incumbent. But who knows?

(khanwens@gmail.com)