WITH “new” chief executives taking over in both Cebu City and Cebu Province, the focus is now on the inevitable maneuvering in the Cebu City Council and the Provincial Board (PB), considering that cooperation by the legislative body is needed to fulfill a chief executive’s agenda. For the moment, the wrinkles in the City Council and the PB are interesting.
In the recent elections, Gov. Hilario Davide III wisely ran for vice governor against a neophyte, the daughter of Rep. Benhur Salimbangon of the fourth district, thereby assuring him of a win. The more difficult opponent was Gwendolyn Garcia, the former governor, and it was Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale who ran against her instead of Davide. She lost.
That means Gwen won’t have a fully cooperative vice governor, unlike during her previous terms when she partnered with Magpale for a productive governorship. I don’t think, though, that Davide would be combative because that is not in his nature. Besides, majority of the PB members are with the Garcia camp.
Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella may have defeated Mayor Tomas Osmeña but the latter’s Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) dominate the City Council even if Labella’s running mate, former mayor Michael Rama, won. That means that even if he has a cooperative vice mayor, Labella will have an uncooperative City Council.
Even then, there is obviously panic within the BOPK ranks as shown by the recent move of City Councilor Sisinio Andales of trying to solidify the previous administration’s opposition to the sale of South Road Property lots. The BOPK councilors know that their hold on the City Council is fragile. The balance in favor of the administration party Barug could shift in a jiffy.
The time of Andales himself and another BOPK councilor, Alvin Arcilla, as city councilors is borrowed because the Commission on Elections has invalidated their certificates of candidacy.
Legal maneuvering allowed them to hold on to their candidacies and win but they could be eased out of the City Council anytime soon and replaced by councilors aligned with Labella.
A weak BOPK with Osmeña already on the final stretch of his political career opens the party to raiding by Barug. The convincing may take time but judging from past experiences the shifting of allegiance is inevitable.
That will happen not only in the City Council but also in the barangays. Which means that Franklin Ong, who represents the Association of Barangay Councils in the City Council and Jessica Resch, who represents the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation, also have borrowed times in the city’s legislative body.
The situation in both Cebu City and Cebu Province can be compared to a running water suddenly dammed. The water, because of momentum, may crash violently into the dam and swirl. But it will soon calm down and seek its own level. That’s how all change looks in the early going, especially in politics.
The shifts in allegiance that we always see--called the balimbing phenomenon—is change playing itself out.