THREATS and promises were thrown around yesterday as Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairpersons in Cebu City elected their federation president, who will sit as ex-officio member of the city council.
A radio commentator claimed that Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera threatened to sue SK chairpersons who will vote in the election of the SK federation president but who are not qualified to do so.
Meanwhile, Mayor Tomas Osmeña promised to give P1million to every Barangay SK to fund its projects but only if the SK chairperson votes for the SK Federation president who will support his administration.
Did the threat and the promise violate any law? Well, the threat is not against the life of an SK member but only implies that there was a flaw with how the SK chairpersons were elected on May 14. It raised suspicions that some SK chairpersons were elected even if they were not qualified. Councilor Garganera’s threat appears baseless, though, because the SK chairpersons have already taken their oaths. In the absence of an election protest, the election of an SK official is presumed regular.
The money that Mayor Tomas dangled could not also be considered vote buying because he did not name an SK chairperson as the next SK Federation president. He even said he will give the SK leaders a free hand to choose their federation president.
An astute politician, Mayor Tomas knows how to skirt the law. The money dangled is not for the personal use of the SK chairperson but to fund for their projects in their barangays.
The intention of the mayor is obvious, though. He needs a majority in the city council, and he could get that if the elected SK Federation president supports him.
At present, the number in the city council is tied (8-8) for the opposition and the administration. The election of the Association of Barangay Council (ABC) president is already a given because the administration already has 51 barangay captains as against 29 for the opposition.
If the elected ABC and SK Federation presidents are allied with the administration of Mayor Tomas. the number would be 10 against 8 for the opposition.
Some of the opposition councilors, including Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, are my friends. But what I can’t understand is the mood of some opposition councilors in blocking projects for the sake of opposing even if these projects are good for the city and its residents.
The tug-of-war, so to speak, between the administration and the opposition involves huge projects. I was told about the suspicion that someone would make money out of the projects is the cause of the opposition’s concern.
So when will the tug-of-war end? When Mayor Tomas has the majority in the city council and when the residents start to pin the blame on the opposition councilors for hampering the delivery of basic services like garbage collection, road construction and traffic maintenance because of their senseless opposition.
Come to think of it. We should have realized by now that the reason public service has been neglected is because of too much politicking by politicians.