Osmeñas fight over Cebu City mayoralty

CEBU CITY—Former Senator John Osmeña is going against his relatives by running against the candidate of his estranged cousin, Mayor Tomas Osmeña, for mayor of this city in the May 2010 polls, a dilemma for the Liberal Party.
Together with over 500 city, provincial and municipal officials, the former senator who heads the Panaghiusa party took the oath of allegiance to the LP with standard bearer Senator Benigno Aquino III anointing them. “Cebu led the way when we regained our democracy. It was here that we truly felt our liberation from Martial Law,” Aquino said.
But Mayor Osmeña and his Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan party already agreed to carry LP candidates in the 2010 race and endorsed his vice mayor, Michael Rama, for this city’s mayoralty seat.
Mayor Osmeña did not attend the oath taking in the North Reclamation Area’s White Gold House. He had been at odds with his cousin for several years now on many issues, the latest concerning the strategy in the multi-billion-peso South Road Properties development.
“I will definitely run 90 percent for mayor. Don’t tell me BOPK will put in a candidate who is not LP but Lakas,” the former senator said.
Mayor Osmeña considers it “okay” for his cousin and even his own sister to run for top local post since, he said, it will be the people who will decide on the matter.
He said for the sake of unity between the province and the city, he is willing to reconcile with the former senator but his loyalty remains with Rama, a Lakas-Kampi stalwart that did not renew his oath of allegiance with the ruling party.
The mayor’s youngest sister, Georgia, already said she would run as an independent candidate for mayor and that she has majority support of the 80 barangay captains.
Florencio “Butch” Abad, campaign manager and former president of the LP, said the party would be talking more to former Senator Osmeña to complete the final list of the party’s candidates for the province.
“We have no problem with the soon-to-be lineup in the province, what we are worried [of] is Cebu City,” Abad said.
Cebu’s political landscape has shifted from being dominated by administration supporters to an LP province, according to Abad.
Cebu in the 2003 elections delivered majority of the votes to President Gloria Arroyo’s Lakas-Kampi. Those who won with Mrs. Arroyo were Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, former Gov. Pablo Garcia—Gwendolyn’s father—as 2nd District representative, and Rep. Pablo John Garcia, who is Gwendolyn’s brother, in the 3rd District.
Abad was overwhelmed by participants in the oath taking, the first for the party with the most number of members sworn in. “One thing is certain, our number is growing everyday, initially we expected only a hundred to two hundred but we cannot stop the others from joining,” he said.
Among those who took their oath were Hilario Davide III, the son of former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., former Rep. Clavel Martinez and husband Bogo Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr. and their son Celestino III, San Remegio town Mayor Mariano Martinez, former provincial board member Antonio Yapha, provincial board member Victoria Corominas, and Consolacion Mayor Avelino Gungob.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s brother, Rep. Pablo John Garcia of the 3rd District, laughed off the LP’s claim. “It is alright to dream,” Garcia said. Garcia’s father, former Gov. Pablo Garcia, is the congressman of the 2nd District of Cebu.
(Manila Standard Today)

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