FORMER Mayor Tomas Osmeña urged supporters of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) not to give their support to former Cebu City administrator Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez who is running for vice mayor in the 2022 elections.

This is so as not to divide the vote of BOPK supporters as the party’s official candidate for vice mayor is ABC President Franklyn Ong.

“We have friends that are close to Bimbo Fernandez and very close to me, but it is very clear that if the BOPK is split and Raymond Garcia wins, our 93-1 will definitely be lost... that’s going to be a major disaster for the urban poor,” Osmeña said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Sought for his comment, Fernandez who served as Cebu City administrator during Osmeña’s time as mayor said Osmeña was right since he is neither a candidate of the BOPK or of Mayor Michael Rama’s Partido Barug.

“I am practically running as an independent since I am the only candidate of LP (Liberal Party) for Cebu City, which does not have any political machinery here. I am not beholden to any politician nor business people. But only to the ‘power of the people,’” Fernandez said.

‘Disaster’

For his part, Councilor Raymond Garcia who is Rama’s runningmate in next year’s elections said the thousands of families living under the City’s 93-1 land swap deal with the Cebu Provincial Capitol will have problems if he is not elected vice mayor.

“If I will not be elected as vice mayor in the City of Cebu in 2022, that could be the real disaster for 93-1 beneficiaries,” Garcia said.

Garcia is a nephew of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia who has sought to renegotiate the deal entered into by former governor Hilario “Junjun” Davide III and former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña in 2018.

The younger Garcia believed his aunt’s victory could no longer be prevented in next year’s elections. He said if Ong or Fernandez were to become vice mayor, they would not be able to approach his aunt’s office and cause the future land ownership deal to be forfeited leaving the thousands of families living in the 93-1 lot without a chance to own the land.

Under the memorandum of agreement earlier signed by Davide and Osmeńa, the Province transferred to the City Government ownership of the 93.1 residential lots in Barangay Lahug among other properties.

In exchange, the City gave at least 2.5 hectares in the South Road Properties.

The contract is under renegotiation between the City and the Province.