Espinoza: More mayoralty bets in Cebu City next year?

Free Zone
Espinoza Free Zone
Espinoza Free Zone

Next year’s midterm elections are a little more than a year from today. But the noise being made this early by those who intend to run for elective posts, or those seeking reelection for Cebu City tell us that next year’s polls are not that far.

The early bird, so to speak, to manifest his intention to run for mayor of Cebu City is former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 director and Customs commissioner Yogi Ruiz. Then suddenly after a long silence, we started reading stories about the press conferences that former mayor Tomas Osmeña called where he unveiled his political plans for the midterm polls.

The former mayor said he will not be running again for mayor. Instead he will settle for vice mayor, while strongly endorsing City Councilor Nestor Archival of the north district as his party’s standard bearer. Osmeña still heads his party, Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan.

In a chance meeting with Councilor Archival sometime last month, I teasingly greeted him mayor. He talked to me and he appeared serious to run for mayor after the endorsement of Osmeña. Right from the horse’s mouth, the number one city councilor is now head hunting, in a manner of speaking, for his bets for councilor in his lineup.

The other possible candidate is yet to publicly manifest his intention to run for mayor, but people in the know said embattled Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) chairman Joey Daluz, who is chairman of Panaghiusa Party, will face off with incumbent Mayor Michael Rama. This, after Rama moved heaven and earth to have Daluz removed at the MCWD.

What about incumbent Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia? The vice mayor, in previous statements, said he would stay with Mayor Rama as the latter’s running mate in next year’s elections if Rama would seek reelection. But if Rama would not seek reelection, then he would probably run for mayor.

But recent events somehow changed the milieu on the Rama-Garcia tandem. After Vice Mayor Garcia met with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and other officials to discuss the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project, Mayor Rama publicly issued a statement that he was stabbed in the back. Capitol claims the CBRT project has encroached on its property and the governor issued a cease and desist order for the contractor to stop the work on a bus stop near the Capitol building.

After that meeting, whispers were so loud that Vice Mayor Garcia would be gunning for the mayor’s seat with the backing of his aunt Governor Garcia. Raymond’s father, former Cebu City mayor Alvin Garcia, and Governor Gwen are first-degree cousins.

And from what I have gathered from sources who are close to the City’s politicos, if Vice Mayor Garcia runs for mayor, Daluz will settle for vice mayor as his running mate.

From this possible political scenario, Mayor Rama looks isolated. Osmeña is not keen on teaming up again with Rama despite the latter’s efforts of endearing Osmeña, whom he calls his political mentor. And if talks come out to be true that Garcia and Daluz will team up in next year’s elections, where will Rama be?

To recall, Panaghiusa, the party of Daluz, and Garcia’s Kusug Party supported Rama in the last mayoralty race wherein he handily won over former City Councilor Margot Osmeña. Margot is the wife of former mayor Tomas.

With several candidates for mayor of Cebu City in next year’s polls, will this mean Cebu City voters will have better choices?


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