Espinoza: Daluz for Cebu City mayor?

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SunStar Espinoza
SunStar EspinozaFree Zone

The political noise as to who would be running for Cebu City mayor in next year’s midterm elections suddenly died down after the suspension of Mayor Michael Rama last month upon the order of the Ombudsman for non-payment of the salaries of four employees at the City Assessor’s Office.

The first to make the opening salvo, so to speak, on his ambition to become the next mayor of Cebu City was Yogi Ruiz. The former Customs commissioner and director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7. His humongous billboard now hangs along the corner of Gov. Cuenco Ave. and Pope John Ave.

Former mayor Tomas Osmeña followed when he announced that No. 1 North District Councilor Nestor Archival would be BOPK’s mayoralty bet with him as Nestor’s running mate.

Of course, suspended Mayor Rama has long announced his intention to seek reelection for his last term in office with Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, the acting city mayor now, as his running mate. But many say that the Rama-Garcia tandem still leaves so much to be desired since the midterm polls are still about 11 months away.

Silently, the formerly “embattled” Metropolitan Cebu Water District chairman Joey Daluz has exhibited signs that he is interested in the mayoralty race after the efforts of Rama to oust him from his post miserably failed. Unfortunately for Rama, he is the one who is now out of office, serving a six-month suspension.

Daluz now has a FB page with his beaming photo, inviting friends to friend him. Could this be an indication, on the part of Daluz, to spite Rama? If he is running, who will be his vice mayor? Does he have a slate for councilors? Any guess, friends?

Of course, Daluz is not new to politics. He is a former city councilor, who was credited, if I got it right, as one of those responsible for the victory of the late Mayor Edgardo Labella, with Rama as a bet for vice mayor, over Osmeña in the 2019 midterm elections.

On the other hand, Rama is lamenting that Acting Mayor Garcia is making different policy directions while he is still alive. But Garcia, in a statement to the media, said he is not changing the City’s policy direction, which he said is to serve the city, only that his brand of approach is diplomacy.

On Monday’s press conference, Garcia revealed that he slashed the budget appropriations for the City’s hosting of the Palarong Pambansa next month and entirely removing the budget for the construction of the grandstand extension because it could not be done in time for the event.

“I have authorized only the charging of P262 million out of the P405 million. There is a cut of P143 million,” Garcia said.

His diplomatic approach in running the City Government while Rama is serving his preventive suspension order (granting that there are no other suspension coming for Rama) speaks volumes that somehow displeased Rama. Could this spark a split of the Rama-Garcia tandem in next year’s polls? I suppose the possibility is not remote.

If the Rama-Garcia partnership is breached before October this year, the filing of the certificate of candidacy, will Garcia run for mayor? Maybe not. I got it from his father, former mayor Alvin, in a chance chat, that he prefers Raymond to run for vice mayor in the midterm polls. But who will be Raymond’s mayoralty bet if it happens that his alliance with Rama breaks? Daluz? It’s worth the wait, fellas!

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