CEBU City election watchers say the veterans -- incumbents or returnees with a lot of "name recognition/awareness" in their favor -- have bigger chance of winning seats in the City Council.

Using that standard, minority BOPK may get more seats in the city's first district, as it did in the 2019 election when only two Barug bets -- Niña Mabatid and Raymond Alvin Garcia -- survived the BOPK near-sweep.

BOPK NORTH: 7 VETS, 1 NEWBIE. Look at BOPK's north team for this May: Reelectionists Nestor Archival Sr., Alvin Dizon, Lea Japson, and Joy Augustus Young, with returnees Mary Ann de los Santos, Sisenio Andales and Alvin Arcilla. The only newbie is Arturo Barrit, who's connected with the labor union ALU.

BOPK's returnees are power names. De los Santos had gone through several elections -- including races for mayor, congresswoman and, last time, vice mayor. Bebs Andales and Arvin Arcilla handily won in the 2019 election but were ultimately disqualified by the three-term limit they tried but failed to beat.

BOPK SOUTH: ONLY 2 VETS. On the other hand, BOPK fields six rookies in the second or south district, with only two veterans. Battle-grizzled is Raul Alcoseba, a reelectionist. Returnee is Roberto Cabarubias, former barangay captain of Basak-Pardo and former city councilor.

The new contenders are Josephine Abella, Jose Abellanosa, Grema Barete, Cornelio Jaca, Omar Kintanar and Ana Gabriela “Bea” Osmeña.

BARUG: 4-4 NORTH; 5-3 SOUTH. On the other side, Barug fields these four veterans in the north: Jun Alcover, Joel Garganera, Jerry Guardo and Noel Wenceslao. And five veterans in the south: James Anthony Cuenco, Dondon Hontiveros, Junjun Osmeña, Joy Pesquera and Phillip Zafra. (Garganera, Hontiveros and Zafra are tagged "independent" in their COCs and are reportedly Barug "guest candidates.") Except for Alcover, a former councilor who lost in 2019, and Wenceslao, a returning two-term councilor, Barug team members, seven of them, are incumbents seeking reelection.

The four Barug rookies in the north are "Maria Pino" Buanghug, Jaypee Labella, Peter Mancao, and Melvin Legaspi; and the three in the south are Rey Gealon, Harry Eran, and Francis Esparis.

Newbies try to make up for the own lack of public exposure or campaign experience with the prominent name or tested leadership of their respective families or clans. Labella, Abella, Abellanosa and Jaca are names familiar in political history. Jaypee Labella is the late mayor's son. Jose Abellanosa is incumbent congressman Bebot's son. Bea is the daughter-in-law of Margot and Tommy Osmeña. Yet these rookies have to compete with veteran rivals and even the oldies in their own teams.

18 SEATS PLUS VM. The Sangguanian has 16 elective seats (eight each from the two districts) and two seats occupied by representatives of the youth sector and the barangay captains group.

The party that gets the majority seats dominate the City Council, especially if the vice mayor-presiding officer is also a party mate. And it can deliver the ordinances and resolutions the mayor wants if he's on its side -- or unleash a lot of mischief on his administration if he's not.

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DID YOU NOTICE that all BOPK candidates, except maybe one, have the word BOPK welded to the names in their respective COCs, such as "Art BOPK" for Arturo Barrit, "Lea Ouano BOPK" for Lea Japson, "Pie BOPK" for Josephine Abella, and "Bobcap BOPK" for Roberto Cabarrubias. Mary Ann de los Santos doesn't carry a nickname with the word "BOPK." And there are two "Alvin BOPKs": Alvin Dizon and Alvin Arcilla.

Barug bets don't have a "Barug" tag with the nickname. And three Barug aspirants, the independents, didn't want to carry the name "Barug."

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