FORMER senator Sonny Osmeña was right. The Liberal Party rally at the Cebu City Sports Center last Saturday night proved to be primarily a show of strength of the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK). Only LP leaders from the province showed up during the mobilization that proclaimed LP standard-bearers Senators Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas.

But while the former senator intended to downplay the significance of the Cebu City-based rally, Mayor Osmeña demonstrated that BOPK could practically match what the Nacionalista Party in the province, led by Rep. Eddie Gullas and former Mandaue Mayor Teddy Ouano, could muster.

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Remember that the NP filled a block at the Mandaue reclamation area the other weekend in a star-studded political extravaganza. The NP brought popular noontime host Willie Revillame that converted the rally into something akin to Wowo-wee. The LP rally only had Dennis Padilla hosting a program that focused on the popularity of Noynoy and Mar.

Sonny’s comments however made us note that both rallies did not show the full potential mobilizing strength of both the LPs and NPs in Cebu.

The Nacionalistas, I understand, are still convincing the opposition Kugi Uswag Sugbo or Kusug in Cebu City to formally support them. While Kusug leaders showed up during a public gathering with former president Erap Estrada last year, they are getting feelers from both the Villar camp.

True, BOPK has demonstrated political strength. However, Kusug remains to be a power to reckon with in the city. The opposition in Cebu City has drawn strength from the years of disenchantment with Osmeña’s one-man rule.

I remember that Kusug in 2001 could practically fill up that junction of Colon St. from Pelaez to Leon Kilat and from Metro Gaisano to Sanciangko. A month ago, a privately-commissioned survey showed Kusug’s Alvin Garcia in a statistical tie with BOPK’s Mike Rama. For Kusug, 2010 is the time to bring back Cebu City Hall from the clutches of one man to the people.

In the province, Gov. Gwen Garcia remains publicly committed to Lakas-Kampi bet Gilbert Teodoro. However, there are indications from some of her men that they could eventually go Villar if Gibo fails to create a miracle in his survey ratings. The province-based Garcias could follow their city-based cousins to the Villar camp if the cracks in the Lakas-Kampi further widens. I consider the critical comments of Lakas-Kampi’s Prospero Pichay on how the Gibo campaign is going as a major crack.

One Cebu won’t be solid though. The Salimbangons are expected to support Estrada, while the final choice of the Duranos will be known at the homestretch.

Meanwhile, it seems all is not well inside the provincial LP organization. A supporter of LP’s Itok Corro of Daanbantayan town told me they are now shifting their support for One Cebu’s vice gubernatorial bet Glenn Soco. Other Noynoy supporters, such as former governor Lito Osmeña, also do not like Greg.

Junjun Davide’s political machinery is weaker compared to One Cebu’s if we count the number of party candidates in the towns.

Intramurals like these definitely won’t augur well once the local campaign period begins. Meanwhile, a confident Governor Garcia leaves Cebu for Europe.

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Now that we have invested so much to hasten the process of counting votes, we should do something about the process of resolving election protests. As it is now, like the situation in Daanbantayan and the fourth district, protests are decided when the next election draws near. Most often, a losing candidate that wins in the protests could not assume office.

Such a situation encourages candidates to just resort to massive cheating.

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The critical power situation may eventually ease as additional power plants in Toledo and Naga begin to go online. However, Cebu’s political and business leaders are still stumped on how to bring down local fuel prices. The pump prices in Metro Manila and Davao continue to be several pesos less than in Cebu.

During a recent dinner with fellow Bosconians, Customs District Collector Ronnie Silvestre traced the problem to the lack of oil depots in Cebu. He said fuel prices in Metro Manila and Davao are cheaper because oil tankers from abroad unload in the ports of Batangas and Davao. Oil companies need to bring the oil to Cebu from these places. Silvestre, who was assigned in Davao before his stint in Cebu, said he welcomes more direct oil imports at the Cebu port. This will definitely improve his collection performance as it significantly brings down fuel prices. However, the existing depots here simply cannot accommodate the needed volume.

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