Monday July 23, 2018

Editorial: Political battleground

Editorial Cartoon by Rolan John Alberto

BIG political groups in Cebu City may not admit it, but last Monday’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election was a major battleground for them preparatory to the 2019 midterm polls.

If any of them--the administration Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) and the opposition Barug Team Rama/PDP-Laban--treated the recent political exercise less than that way, then they would find themselves losers in the coming days.

Let us set aside for now the point that the barangays should be free from electioneering from above; the rule has not been followed anyway and violators have not been called to task for it. So we saw the BOPK and Barug Team Rama fielding and funding their own bets in every Cebu City barangay.

Which makes the process of accounting who won and who lost, especially for the posts of barangay captain (punong barangay) and SK chairperson crucial. Consider that BOPK allies started off in the minority going into Election Day, as shown by its lack of dominance in the city’s Association of Barangay Councils (ABC), even as the SK was dormant for several years already.

Some officials identified with the BOPK have actually gloated about having recovered their majority in the ABC. That of the SK seems to be hanging still. But the claim will only be proven when the ABC and the SK federations in the city hold their elections. That is why the next crucial events for the city’s major political groups will happen in the coming weeks.

The prize is control of the Cebu City Council. If majority of the BOPK candidates won and one of them snatches the leadership in the ABC and another in the SK federation, the complexion of the city council will change, with Barug Team Rama/PDP-Laban losing the majority.

That will have a telling effect in the 2019 polls when machinery at the barangay level will be considered an important factor for a win, although at times it became a non-factor like in 2016, when the incumbent Michael Rama lost to the challenger Tomas Osmeña in the mayoral race.

Has Barug Team Rama/PDP-Laban lost an important political advantage after Monday’s political exercise? The answer will be known soon.