Talks like he’d be next mayor

AT a “pulong-pulong” cum press conference Friday, December 3, before vendors and other residents in the Carbon Market area, former mayor Tomas Osmeña said they’d “file all the cases” against the P5.5-billion joint venture agreement (JVA) that would modernize the market, saying they have “all the evidence” for its rescission.

That, of course, clashes sharply with the policy of the city administration to proceed with the JVA with Megawide Construction Corp. and Cebu2World Development but will seek to “cure” defects of the deal.

Osmeña, BOPK chief and husband of former councilor Margot Osmeña, sounded as if he’d be the next mayor and not Margot who is BOPK’s candidate against incumbent Mayor Michael Rama. Tomas talked of having a “mayor of the night” and building a dormitory for single mothers working at the city’s call centers, without qualifying that he’d propose them to his wife if she’d win.

Maybe it was because it was his press-con, although he asked BG Rodrigo Abellanosa, BOPK bet for congressman in the south district, to speak, but not Margot or Franklyn Ong, her runningmate, at least not in the segment that was live-streamed.

Or maybe he’s not hiding the likelihood that, if BOPK would win, he could run the City with Margot. He could be her chief consultant, to be sure, but he’d have no position in the City Government and, as the BOPK fiscalizers in the Sanggunian put it, “no accountability.”

To BOPK, Carbon is major issue

THEY were addressing voters from Carbon. Understandably, they picked an issue close to the residents’ heart. But at the same time, Tomas knew he was also talking to the rest of the city. The way he pounded on caring for the poor and the minority and listening to them pushed the Carbon Market issue upfront on the campaign debate.

Tomas accused the city administration of a wrong thrust on Carbon, alleging that it is “very anti-poor” and contending that there are already modern markets, such as the malls and big department stores, and any modernization must be done without displacing the vendors and hurting consumers who could be paying more for what they buy there.

He called “illegal” the act of approving the JVA (he used “resolution’) with Mike Rama, then its presiding officer, admitting they didn’t read it. (The City Council approved it, not Rama who didn’t vote and even repeatedly cited the Sanggunian’s failure of omission.)

‘Mayor of the night’

OR “night mayor,” to make it sound less like “ladies of the night,” which in City-After-Dark lingo means sex workers.

Former mayor Osmeña said the plight of workers at “more than 400-plus call centers” in the city raises the need for a mayor who’ll attend to their needs, such as transportation, safety and services after 5 p.m. “We’ll have a second shift,” he said.

Media specialist Max Limpag recalls that Tomas raised the same idea when Alvin Garcia, Councilor Raymond Alvin’s dad, was the mayor. (Atty. Alvin served as mayor from 1995 to 1998 and from 1998 to 2001; he was also vice mayor to Tomas from 1987 to 1995. He founded the local party Kusug or Kugi Uswag Sugbo.)

Tomas gave no details of his “night mayor” plan or why a mayor was needed for tasks that the city administrator or some department heads or the day mayor can do even at daytime. The title, of course, is not in the statute books, just like the title “mayor” he gave to selected councilors who performed some executive functions during his multiple terms as mayor (1987 to 1995, 2001 to 2010, 2016 to 2019).

Experimental dorm for moms

The former mayor calls it a “laboratory,” an experiment, starting with one dormitory for single mothers who work at call centers.

He’d like to listen, he said, to prospective beneficiaries of the dorm to see it if would work. He’s very bright, he said, but he doesn’t know everything.

Tomas said that listening to the minority is what makes “our party different” from other parties that listen only to the majority, the big number of people.

Why he dropped Congress

He was asked by a reporter why he withdrew his candidacy for congressman in the south district.

Tomas said he wanted to beef up the bid of BOPK’s council slate in the south by campaigning with them as a candidate himself. But he didn’t consider the need to stay most of his weekdays in Manila or he changed his mind.

An insider earlier confirmed that he gave way to BG Rodrigo to “appease” Representative Bebot Abellanosa who had been promised and expected to fill the mayorship slot that Margot now occupies. Another son of Cong Bebot, Jose Lorenzo Abellanosa, is also a candidate for the City Council in the south district. Two for one, as the art of the deal puts it. Not bad.


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