CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña will not participate in the March 13 plebiscite that will determine whether to separate Sitios Banawa and Englis from Barangay Guadalu-pe, where he resides.

Although he expects residents to have their own opinion on the matter, Osmeña is not optimistic about a high turnout of voters during the plebiscite.

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He said he will neither vote for nor against the bill because he is in favor of a three-way split of Guadalupe, and not the two-way split proposed by Rep. Antonio Cuenco (Cebu City, south district).

If the bill is not approved by the residents, he will push to separate Englis, Banawa and Guadalupe if he is elected congressman of the south district.

In his news conference yesterday, Osmeña warned of a low turnout of voters, and said he himself will not participate in the exercise.

“Let the people speak out... It’s up to them, but I’m not even going to vote because I don’t feel strongly one way or another.

I’m really torn apart. Frankly speaking, I prefer a three-way split, not a two-way split only because the people of Englis are complaining,” he said.

When asked if he thinks he would set a negative example to his fellow Guadalupe residents by not participating in the plebiscite, Osmeña said he expects many people not to vote.

He also warned Gua-dalupe Barangay Captain Eugenio “Jingjing” Faelnar that those in favor of the split and are motivated by the possibility of getting elected as official of the new barangay can mobilize people to vote for the bill.

“Many people will not participate because the issue is not hot enough but they’ll have an opinion. There are more people in Guadalupe and they want the barangay intact.

But if the turnout of voters is low, because there are people in favor but have no time to vote, then it will still be a no.

In Banawa, there are a lot of ambitious people who want to be barangay captain, they will really go all out. So it’s going to be a good fight,” he said.

He told reporters that he sympathizes with Englis residents who don’t want to be part of Banawa because of their attachment to the Guadalupe parish.

That is why he will just let the voters decide and he will just go along with their decision.

The mayor also does not believe that as early as now, some parties are already buying votes to influence the outcome of the plebiscite.

He believes that both sides are not in the position to buy votes and cannot afford to do so since it can cost at least P10,000 per precinct. Besides, he said, vote buying does not work in the city. (LCR)