THE election for the Cebu City officials come May 9, 2022 could perhaps be a first for the city wherein there are three candidates for mayor as well as three bets for vice mayor. It could be lively, if not frenzied, when the campaign period starts 90 days before election day next year.

Councilor Dave Tumulak is gunning for the post of city mayor against Partido Barug’s Mike Rama, who was elected vice mayor in the 2019 elections but is now the city mayor after the death of Mayor Edgar Labella, and BOPK’s Margot Osmeña, a former city councilor who is the spouse of former mayor Tomas Osmeña, founder of BOPK.

Tumulak’s run has raised some doubts on his winnability and it is seen by some as a ruse.

But the recent twist of events showed that Edlab’s men, displeased by Mayor Rama’s taking control of the city’s administration, have endorsed and supported the candidacy of Councilor Tumulak for city mayor. Would this mean that Mayor Rama’s candidacy is in peril? The present city hall administration is a combination of three parties—Barug, Kusug of Councilor Raymond Garcia and Panaghiusa of MCWD chairman Joey Daluz.

After the burial of Mayor Labella, the Panaghiusa party elected former city administrator Floro Casas Jr. as its president, a move that somehow scuttled Mayor Rama’s Barug. Casas, a lawyer, was among the appointees of the late Mayor Labella who had to leave City Hall (with a heavy heart?) when then vice mayor Rama assumed the mayorship.

Perhaps, the replaced Labella appointees this time have already accepted the fact that nothing is permanent.

It’s also beyond comprehension to say that someone goaded Tumulak to run for mayor so that the supporters of Rama would be divided and ensure the victory for Margot Osmeña. But it’s not far-fetched though that Tumulak’s candidacy for mayor is a modus to divide the Rama votes if we take into consideration that Tumulak began his political career at BOPK.

Of course, BOPK’s Tomas Osmeña would certainly disagree with me because he knows his politics; he is confident that BOPK’s bets for mayor, vice mayor and the councilors would win the May 9, 2022 polls against other candidates, including Mike’s party.

On the other hand, the vice-mayoralty race in Cebu City is a toss-up among Councilor Garcia, ABC president and ex-officio Councilor Franklyn Ong and Bimbo Fernandez, who is running under the Liberal Party without a slate.

Garcia is the running mate of Rama under the coalition of the three parties—Barug, Kusug and Panaghiusa. Garcia could perhaps get the full support of the three parties, but Panaghiusa’s support for Rama is in big doubt after Casas announced the party’s support for Tumulak’s candidacy for mayor. And, believe it or not, Garcia could possibly be carried as Tumulak’s guest bet for vice mayor.

BOPK chief Tomas is wary that the candidacy of Fernandez for vice mayor could affect the chances of Ong in winning the vice-mayoralty race against Garcia. Ong is the running mate of Margot. Fernandez was once the city administrator when Tomas was then city mayor. Fernandez’s group is a known solid supporter of BOPK. In one of the events, former mayor Tomas openly campaigned for Ong, maybe to assuage Ong’s doubts on the candidacy of Fernandez for vice mayor.

Is Ong not surprised that Fernandez carries the flag of Vice President Leni Robredo, who is running for president against Bongbong Marcos, Mayor Isko Moreno, Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Sen. Ping Lacson, and BOPK also supports Robredo? Of course, Ong has to trust the Osmeñas on this matter. Garcia could be smiling on the sidelines on the candidacy of Fernandez for vice mayor.