CEBU'S lone senator, Serge Osmeña III, complained last Thursday he was robbed in the last election.
Serge, brother of Tomas Osmeña and cousin of Sonny Osmeña (elected mayors of Cebu City and Toledo City), alleged vote-buying, vote-shaving and other means of fraud, including rigging of vote counting machines (VCMs). He must have put the VCMs in too as he blamed the “Hello Garci” boys in Comelec (“they’re still there”) for landing only #14 in the final tally.
In effect, Serge did a Mike Rama who lost to Tomas who, Mike said, stole the election from him. Interestingly, Serge said the cheating was done in the local level, which tends to support Rama’s charge of local cheating.
Serge obtained 12.32 million votes, two slots away from the winning circle.
With Serge’s loss, the last Cebuano member was taken out from the Senate. Two senators who were among the 2016 winners claim Cebuano roots but have not been identified as real sons of Cebu: Vicente Sotto III and Miguel Zubiri.
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Unseen, unheard in Cebu
Tomas Osmeña couldn’t have helped his brod Serge any more than he did as Tomas had his own crisis to overcome. Tomas admitted in a post-election interview that unlike in past elections, he concentrated on his bid (his opponents alleged he bought votes only for himself and only against his rival Mike Rama).
Serge himself took for Cebu for granted or maybe the rest of the country. Did he go on campaign trips as diligently as his competitors to the 12 Senate seats? He wasn’t seen or heard in any public forum in Cebu during the campaign period.
In the 2010 election, he landed #10, which shouldn’t have made him confident in his 2016 bid.
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Should we now call Leni Robredo presumptive vice president?
Election lawyer Romulo Makalintal believes so, comparing the situation to that of Rodrigo Duterte who was credited with votes coming from the same sources.
Like Leni, Duterte is not yet proclaimed by the national board of canvassers but, unlike Robredo’s close competitor, his rivals have conceded and his edge is insurmountable. In Robredo’s case, the gap is only 260,000 votes and Bongbong Marcos, the rival breathing on her neck, has not admitted defeat.
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Picking “on the spot”
From the Duterte camp, an insider gave a glimpse of how Cabinet positions are being filled.
A group of two submits a list of names to Duterte who then picks a name “on the spot.”
It’s not known how much or what kind of vetting is done by the list-makers. But Duterte’s style seems clear: he chooses a name pronto, with no further inquiry. Decisive? Or rash.
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