Bzzzzz: The Ahong-Tomas connection: Osmeña taught Chan how to win

CEBU. Former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan. (SunStar File)

PEOPLE talk about...

* DUTERTE BACKING COPS, SOLDIERS IN STL BUSINESS. "Okay lang," if they follow the law and don't cheat on government share of the income, said President Rodrigo Duterte Friday (August 9). But because of their influence and perceived might (with their guns and all), police and army people, Senator Ping Lacson alleged, cornered the franchises and aren't remitting the money.

* MA. LUISA LOOT'S FAULT was not in engaging in quail business but in lending P.5 million town fund in 2007 to a quail raisers association without verifying the borrower's accreditation and background and monitoring the use of the money. Loot was then mayor of Daanbantayan. She is the wife of former police general and also an ex-mayor of the town, Vicente Loot, whom President Duterte has kept pouncing on as an alleged, but not charged, trafficker of illegal drugs.

Not just Tomas, Ade too

At least three key officials in Lapu-Lapu City Hall are, or were, trusted people of mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Even before the election, there was talk of an Ahong-Tomas "connection," referring to now Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard "Ahong" Chan and the former Cebu City mayor. One rumor was that Chan got advice on campaigning and received fund assistance from Osmeña (separate item).

There was no surprise that the batch of "imports" from Cebu City, led by Danilo Almendras as Lapu-Lapu City administrator, are Tomas "die-hards."

Would that make the BOPK chief a de facto mayor of Lapu-Lapu City? Maybe not, as there is at least one other person who must have contributed a lot more to Ahong's upset win: the president's legislative liaison chief, former Cordova mayor Adelino Sitoy. Secretary Ade was responsible for setting up the Chan-Sitoy team that got it into the ruling party ticket and President Duterte's endorsement.

Strategies of winning

One anecdote heard during the election campaign was that about Ahong Chan's campaign. Tomas, this story runs, asked Ahong how many times the Lapu-Lapu candidate for mayor joined a "pulong-pulong" or small meeting. When Ahong replied, "Two or three times," Tomas snorted, "You will lose," then proceeding to detail Ahong with the strategies of winning.

As it turned out, Ahong, who was with the administration party, won. Tomas, whom the president publicly blacklisted before Cebu City voters, lost.

Another story that circulated, more of a theory than a confirmed fact, was that Tomas shared some campaign funds with Ahong Chan. The "speculation" rests on the "allegation" that Osmeña or, more precisely, his leaders were guarded by double teams to prevent them from using money in the last two or three days of the election period.

If true, it was a case of Osmeña funds helping the election of a pro-Duterte candidate.

Qualifying the disqualified

If Tomas Osmeña is still advising Mayor Ahong, the Lapu-Lapu City mayor may learn from the then Cebu City mayor's technique in qualifying an appointee who met some obstacle at the Civil Service Commission.

The appointment of Ahong's city administrator, Danilo Almendras, was rejected last Thursday (August 8) by the City Council, which is dominated by former mayor Paz Radaza's councilors. The reason: lack of residence.

What Tomas did, which Ahong may find inspiration from: reappoint the appointee until the nominee would qualify. Chan is supported by the Local Government Code provision that deems an appointment valid if the City Council fails to act on it within 15 days from the day it is submitted.

Still, if push becomes shove, Chan may find enough time for Almendras to establish residence and thus remove the disqualification, ala Tomas Osmeña.


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