Malilong: A dark horse in Archival

Malilong: A dark horse in Archival
Art by John Montecillo

The Palarong Pambansa opened at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) last Tuesday. The police said there were no untoward incidents. There was no Michael Rama either.

Pardon the non-sequitur. I am only trying to drive home the point that the duly-elected mayor was conspicuous by his absence. He should have been there. Was he barred from the CCSC because he is under preventive suspension? If some people wanted to marginalize him by banishing him from public view, they were wrong. The plan, if plan there was, drove exactly the opposite behavior.

He should have been invited at least to the opening program. Cebu City’s successful bid to host the Palaro was a collaborative effort but there is no denying Rama’s huge contribution. He conceived the idea and nurtured it.

Rama has this nettlesome habit of calling you very early in the morning. It is one of the reasons why it has become routine for me to put my mobile phone on silent mode before going to sleep. One evening I missed taking the precautionary measure. Early morning the following day my phone rang. It was not yet five. And it was the mayor.

He told me that he was on his way to the airport for his flight to Manila to submit the city’s bid for the 2024 Palaro. He said he was excited about the prospect of bringing back the games to Cebu City after an absence of 30 years. He did sound like he was excited.

Rama sowed the seeds but did not get the opportunity to harvest the fruits. How he would have loved to deliver a lengthy speech, as is his practice, to the gathering of young athletes from all over the country. Instead it was his vice mayor, who is now the acting mayor, who was on the stage while Rama was out somewhere, probably licking his wounds.

He now has added motivation to run in 2024 against all comers but especially against Acting Mayor Raymond Garcia, who is widely believed to be seeking his own mandate for the city’s top post. In Rama’s eyes, Garcia has betrayed him as had Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) Chairman Joey Daluz, another known mayoral aspirant.

It would be a free-for-all with Rama enjoying a slight advantage over the two. But if the fight among them—all former Unity Ticket allies—turns personal and ugly, a dark horse could emerge and steal the elections away.

Nestor Archival is an attractive alternative. He has the temperament and an extensive experience in public service. His name has not been tainted by allegations of graft and corruption. And most important of all, he enjoys the support of former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Some people are quick to dismiss Osmeña as a has-been and his Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) as irrelevant in the political equation. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Despite the desertion of some of his trusted leaders, Osmeña and the BOPK remain a potent political force.

A plethora of political parties dot the local political environment, but in reality, there are only two power blocs in the city: the BOPK and the anti-BOPK. With the anti-BOPK bloc hopelessly divided, a door has opened for Archival and Osmeña.


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