THERE are many reasons the attempt of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to sell 45.2 hectares of South Road Property (SRP) lots isn’t going anywhere. One of these is timing. That it is being done with the 2016 elections less than a year away is the problem.

The City’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) is bidding out Lots 7 and 17, with a consolidated area of 19.2 hectares, and the 26 hectares Lot 8. The proceeds from the sale, estimated at P9 billion, will be used to fund the city’s major projects.

It was only last August when the city council, following the turnaround of some Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) councilors, passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to sell the 45.2 hectares lot. But it took Rama 10 months to proceed to the next phase, which is the conduct of the bidding. Now, the attitude of BOPK councilors has changed.

With the elections just around the bend, the push of opposing parties and would-be candidates will now be to either gain political advantage or prevent rivals from getting such advantage. Plugging possible sources of campaign funds is an important strategy.

One can, for example, consider this as a reason why Rama blocked an infrastructure project pushed by Rep. Abellanosa in the south district. And it can be the reason why BOPK councilors will find ways to block the sale of SRP lots.

In the regular session of the city council last Wednesday, BOPK Councilor Sisinio Andales called for a halt to the bidding for the sale of the SRP lots. He questioned the mode of disposal used, pitting a provision in a 2012 ordinance against that in the August resolution. But it could just be a cover for the intent to block the sale.

What we are seeing, therefore, is but an initial skirmish on this issue. Rama is adamant that the bidding should push through. Andales said he would seek the Department of Interior and Local Governments’ opinion on which would prevail, the 2012 ordinance or the August resolution.

Expect, therefore, more fireworks in the coming days as the maneuvering intensifies. In the end, though, the real losers here are the city’s constituents.