URBAN poor leader Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, who is running for vice mayor in Cebu City in the May 2022 elections, said he is not withdrawing from the race and is here to stay, despite former mayor Tomas Osmeña’s plea to supporters not to vote for him.

Osmeña earlier urged Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) loyalists not to vote for Fernandez and instead shift their support to Councilor Franklyn Ong to avoid splitting the votes.

The former mayor, however, clarified that his campaign against Fernandez is not personal, and he has no hard feelings towards him.

“I, Bimbo Fernandez, am here to stay... I will not withdraw,” said Fernandez in a statement.

“I am running as an independent to show that my victory is not because of him and other business people,” Fernandez added.

Fernandez said that Osmeña’s earlier announcement may have disheartened a lot of people, especially his supporters, but he will always have great respect for Osmeña.

Fernandez said that even if Osmeña publicly campaigned against him, he would still ask everyone who supports his cause to also vote for Osmeña’s wife, Margot, who is running for mayor in the May 2022 elections.

He said his track record for the last 50 years of serving the Cebuanos in various capacities will speak for itself: “That I am not corrupt. I’m not beholden to anyone, other than the people I serve.”

Fernandez said his advocacy in running for the vice mayor’s office is “walay kwartahay, walay hulgaay, walay ilaray, walay korap (no bribery, no threat, no deception, no corruption).”

Fernandez and Osmeña worked together during the time when the latter was mayor. Fernandez had served as city administrator under Osmeña.

According to Fernandez, he introduced Osmeña to various urban poor communities when he returned to Cebu in 1987.

Fernandez is a well-known urban poor leader and has helped Osmeña in every election since then.

In an earlier statement, Osmeña said that while he has worked with Fernandez for many years, he believes Ong deserves BOPK’s support.

“I have nothing personal against Bimbo as a candidate. We have worked together for many years, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for him. Franklyn is hardworking and has earned his place as our official candidate, and we will keep our word,” Osmeña earlier said. (PR)