Seares: Margot: Two for price of one?

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has just floated an interesting balloon. Instead of Tomas running for reelection, he’d have his wife Margot Osmena, a city councilor now on her last term, lead the BOPK pack in the 2019 elections.

Tomas knows he’ll set off a flurry of speculations, including these:

[1] He’s too tired to go again on a grueling campaign, whoever his opponent may be; he’ll be two months shy of 71 by May next year;

[2] He might not be as illness-free as he has claimed; cancer is infamously known for returning any day with a vengeance;

[3] There may be a growing anti-Osmeña sentiment from voters who’re tired of his vengeful, scorched-earth policy against his political rivals, which overwhelms other concerns for the city, notably the basic services;

[4] It’s time, he thinks, to entrench another Osmea at the helm, one he can help win the election and teach to govern while he still can.

Boon, handicap

The installing and mentoring component will be both boon and handicap.

Margot would’ve a whiz of a strategist and an efficient campaign manager in Tomas. A veteran of many political wars who lost only one (in 2013), the city mayor has spent his new term crippling his enemy’s election apparatus and strengthening his own. Obviously, he has been preparing to run Barug Team Rama to the ground in the next battle.

Clintons, TOYM

Tomas might also use the pitch of Bill Clinton in 1992: two Clintons for the vote of one: U.S. voters would get Bill as president and have Hillary as well. Then in 2015, they would have Hillary and Bill as well. Vote one, get two. A similar scheme that his 2016 poll package included: "two TOYM awardees for the vote of one," referring to himself and running mate Joy Young, both Jaycee Ten Outstanding Young Men winners.

The downside in a Margot cum Tomas marketing is that it could turn off voters who dislike a conjugal rule at City Hall. Margot might be seen as puppet of a mayor tied to strings Tomas would pull. Tomas had been known to want to call the shots even when another mayor was seated. That’s why, a City Hall watcher says, it must have been torture for Tomas to be shut out when Mike Rama broke away from BOPK and ruled the city on his own.

She did it before

Margot in running for mayor could break term limit with less hassle or sweat. She could run for the higher post and thus keep City Hall power within the family without setting up a dynasty.

Nine consecutive years of service as councilor and a few months on top as acting mayor when Mike Rama was suspended (for an offense the office of the president found offensive but the ombudsman later ruled to be inoffensive). She wasn’t just caretaker or OJT but as Tomas’s implementor. Barug stalwarts then suspected the husband cooked up decisions for City Hall before breakfast in their Guadalupe kitchen.

Margot’s ready for Vice Mayor Edgar Labella debut or a Mike Rama return. But what could take her down would be the same afflictions that would bug another Tomas run. Because the two are seen as one, because voting for her would also be voting for Tomas.

One other thing

But there’s one speculation I didn’t put in the list above, one other weird and creepy thing.

You know what? Tomas might just be messing with the heads of his enemies. He loves to do that.
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