TWO reasons for Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s surprisingly wimp-like tact on the planned plebiscite to separate Banawa from barangay from Guadalupe:

One, he knows better than to rile residents of either Banawa or what will remain of Guadalupe just when he is courting their votes for the May elections.

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If this were, say, July 2007 (after he won reelection) he would have been more forthright, even brutally frank, with his stand on the matter, considering his nature.

Two, Rep. Antonio Cuenco, sponsor of the split Guadalupe measure that President Arroyo signed into law last Jan. 7, is no longer a bitter enemy.

Calm

After months of sparring verbally with the congressman, the mayor found it prudent to end the conflict especially because he covets the post Cuenco is leaving behind.

Continuing to hurl insults at Cuenco could push him to the ranks of the opposition and into the arms of businessman Jonathan Guardo, the mayor’s strongest opponent for the post of south district congressman.

To effectively win back Cuenco, he included the congressman’s son in the administration party’s slate for the council; now Osmeña is trying to be calm regarding the plan to split Guadalupe into two barangays.

Good, bad

But this works both ways.

In a way the signing of Republic Act 9905 (the split Guadalupe law) is well-timed, at least for Cuenco and for Banawa residents who have been clamoring for their village separation from the city’s biggest barangay.

And it is not a good time for Guadalupe barangay captain and Cebu City Councilor Eugenio “Jingjing” Faelnar, whose resistance to the proposed split got the mayor’s support especially when the Tomas-Tony feud was at its peak.

Free hand

As for Guardo, expect him to be cautious, too, like Osmeña.

Which only means that with politicians unable to interfere rashly in the planned plebiscite, residents of the old Guadalupe (which still includes Banawa) will be given a freer hand to decide on the fate of their barangay.

This situation does not come often that is why Guadalupe residents should grab it.

Their vote on the issue must be well-thought of and enlightened.