FORMER senator John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña said he does not oppose integrating Cebu City with the Province again, particularly letting its voters help elect provincial officials.
However, he also said it would be a political move, because it would mean Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama will have an ally in Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia if Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) decides to run for mayor again.
It would also be economical, he said, because there are Capitol projects in the city that were halted because of the strained relationship between Garcia and the former mayor.
Sonny also said his cousin Tomas does not even have to wait for 2013 to unseat Rama, as Sonny is planning to file a recall protest against Rama after the one-year ban lapses.
When sought for comment, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said, “Spoken like an old, almost forgotten politician.”
Garcia said the issue goes beyond political personalities.
“We must all be one so we can truly have a holistic, integrated development plan for this entire island. It goes beyond us, it goes beyond the Osmeñas and the Garcias.
Above all else, it is Cebu that matters,” said Garcia.
Rama said he expressed his preference long before he became mayor.
“Pataka man lang sila ug hasmag, dugay ra kong gaestorya ana.
Dugay na ko gasige ug sulti ana, bise mayor pa ko (I have been saying this since I was vice mayor),” he said.
The mayor added he will seek lawyers willing to study the case and to prepare to go to the Supreme Court, for the city’s voters to be included in provincial elections again.
“Nganong dili man kaapil ang Cebu City nga capital man na sa province? (Why shouldn’t Cebu City be a part, when it is the capital of the province?),” he said.
Former senator Osmeña, whose opinion on the matter was sought in a radio interview, said: “I personally do not oppose the merger because I think, if that happens, we can attain the election of (former councilor Hilario III) Davide. Cebu City can erase the votes of the Duranos for Gwen.”
Garcia said she is used to being underestimated since she first ran in 2004. Sonny’s son, former vice governor John Gregory Osmeña, was among those she defeated. She also urged the former senator to “know his numbers” because while Cebu City only has half a million voters, the Province has over 1.2 million voters.
“That is the story of Gwen Garcia, that is the story of Cebu for the past six years, the continuing story. I assure you, because unlike a political has-been, I’m not about to fade out into obscurity. I will still be very much around,” said Garcia.
She refused to say in what capacity she will be around after her term ends in 2013.
Garcia said she is just waiting for City Hall officials to make the move on some matters, like the plight of city constituents occupying Province-owned lots.
“But before we come to the table of understanding, let us be sure to come to this table with clean hands. It would be a clear manifestation of good faith,” she said.