CEBU City Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos has been formally invited by the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) to join their group.

Delos Santos confirmed this to Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

However, she refused to divulge more information about the matter.

Delos Santos is a member of Team Rama headed by Mayor Michael Rama.

"I will confirm that I was invited officially to join BOPK. But beyond that, I will not disclose the details," she said in a text message.

Sought for comment, Councilor Margarita Osmeña of BOPK only said, "Mary Ann is welcome to join us."

When asked if delos Santos accepted the invitation, Osmeña said that the question is best answered by her colleague in the City Council.

Osmeña and her husband, former mayor and south district congressman Tomas Osmeaña, who heads BOPK, reportedly went to the house of Delos Santos last Friday to discuss the matter and talked for four hours.

Asked about BOPK's move, Mayor Rama, in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu last night, said he was not surprised.

Rama said that no one is barred from inviting people from Team Rama to join BOPK.

He said that Team Rama can also invite BOPK councilors such as Roberto Cabarrubias, Nestor Archival and Lea Japson, among others, to join his group.

"These are people whom I believe in. If we try to re-check, I've been with these people before," said Rama.

Not over

Since Delos Santos is yet to make a decision, Rama said it is not over until it’s over.

Being the leader of Team Rama, the mayor said he is willing to apologize to any of the group's members who may have felt "discomfort, hurt, misapprehension, or misunderstanding" from him.

Delos Santos' relationship with the mayor turned sour late last year after Rama declared the first bidding for the first phase of the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) a failure.

Rama's decision surprised Delos Santos, who was part of the bids and awards committee that handled the first bidding for the new hospital.

Team Rama campaign manager Atty. Jose Daluz III said he was not aware delos Santos had a BOPK invitation, albeit, he heard rumors that Tomas was willing to accept the councilor in his group.


But Daluz is confident that delos Santos will stay with Team Rama.

"I believe in Mary Ann. I believe that she will stay with us. I know her. She is firm in her principles. She has said before that she doesn't want one family to control the city. That's what she's been fighting for," Daluz said.

"As far as I know, she is with us and she will stay with us," he also said.

Daluz added that BOPK might just be sowing intrigues.

If Delos Santos, however, will decide to defect to BOPK, Daluz said Team Rama will be affected.

"That's politics. We will be affected but we will rise. We will accept whatever her decision is. But we are not enemies," he added.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, for his part, said that he trusts Delos Santos enough that she will make the right decision.

"I have my full trust and confidence in her and in her sense of judgment," he said.