FORMER senator John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña filed a petition last Tuesday to disqualify former mayor Alvin Garcia and former city councilor Rodulfo Cabrera from the May 10, 2010 elections.

Garcia is taking another shot at the Cebu City mayoral post. Cabrera is his running mate. Sonny is also aiming to be the next mayor of the city.

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Opposition party Kusug, though, is confident that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc will uphold the Law Department’s recommendation clearing its substitute bets, Garcia and Cabrera, as qualified candidates of the party.

The ex-senator based his petition on the alleged failure of the Kugi Uswag Sugbu (Kusug), Garcia’s party, to heed regulations governing the filing of the certificate of candidacy.

He said there is a “cloud hanging over the legitimacy of the candidacies of Garcia and Cabrera, which will serve to benefit other candidates.”

“This will operate to the advantage of BOPK (Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan) candidate (incumbent Vice Mayor Michael) Mike Rama. In a roundabout way, it can be said to be helping Kusug. My only interest is that the contest for the mayorship of Cebu will not be affected by the issue,” Sonny said.

“So that I will not be accused of raising this issue to benefit my candidacy I am putting my candidacy on hold; that is, it will be inactive but legally maintained. I am doing

this because one can never foretell what unexpected and undesired events may occur,” he said.

Osmeña said that Kusug failed to beat the Nov. 16 deadline for registered political parties to submit the names and signatures of the authorized signatories of official party nominations to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Law Department.

And since the nominations of Jonah John Rodriguez for mayor and Landolino Bontilao for vice mayor by Kusug did not comply with the requirements, they should be considered as independent candidates.

“Alvin Garcia and Rodulfo Cabrera should be disqualified from running in the May 10, 2010 elections because they filed their (COCs) as substitutes of independent candidates,” Sonny said.

Substitution, he said, applies only to official candidates of registered or Comelec-accredited political parties.

He said the validity of the substitution depends on whether or not Kusug has validly nominated Rodriguez and Bontilao.

Since Kusug has not complied with the requirements, Sonny said, its nomination of Rodriguez and Bontilao was invalid.

The candidacies of former mayor Alvin Garcia and those under the Kusug lineup were placed under review because of the failure to submit the names of authorized signatories and signature specimens, which the party complied with only last Dec. 23.

However, the Comelec Law Department said it already reviewed the COCs and certificate of nomination and acceptance, compared these with the party’s authorized signatories and found the documents “sufficient” and “in order.”

That means Kusug’s candidates will be included in the official list of candidates in the 2010 polls after the Comelec Law Department cleared the party’s certificate of candidacy (COC), subject to the confirmation of the commission en banc.

Lawyer Raymond Alvin Garcia, Kusug spokesperson, said the party expects a favorable decision and does not see the need for a Comelec en banc approval as a problem, after the favorable recommendation of the Law Department.

He said that although they were late in submitting the required signatures, the intent of the party to comply with all the documents was there.

Also, Sonny said that during the period leading to the elections, he will campaign for businessman Jonathan Guardo, who is running for south district congressman against Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Sonny said he will also campaign for Lahug Barangay Captain Mary Ann de los Santos, who wants to be elected as the next north district representative. Standing in de los Santos’ way is Rachel del Mar, daughter of incumbent Rep. Raul del Mar.

“The campaign should bear watching as I will raise in the south (district) legitimate issues with far-reaching effects on the electorate, such as the SRP (South Road Properties) project and the status of the health of Mayor Tommy Osmeña. In the north, I will raise the issues of the qualification of the candidates,” Sonny said.

“I will (also) continue my vigorous support for Councilor Junjun (Hilario III) Davide for governor and all of the six congressional candidates (of the Liberal Party) in the province,” he added. (RHM)