Mayor’s allies control city council

By Calvin D. Cordova

Cebu City—The Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) party of Mayor Tomas Osmeña is poised to take control of the city council after candidates allied with BOPK dominated Monday’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

According to the city’s Barangay Affairs Office (BAO), 49 BOPK-affiliated barangay captain candidates won, while Barug Team Rama, headed by former mayor Michael Rama, had 31 winning bets.

Osmeña had wanted to take control of the city council especially after the council junked the resolution authorizing him to enter into a joint venture agreement with the Gokongwei-led Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) for a P18-billion integrated resort project at Kawit Island in South Road Properties.

“I want to thank the Cebuanos because I know many people voted because they wanted to express their support for me,” said Osmeña.

BOPK and Barug Team Rama each have eight councilors in the council, but the opposition has Vice Mayor Edgar Labella, an ally of Barug Team Rama, to break the stand-off, being the presiding officer.

The incumbent ABC-Cebu City chapter president Philip Zafra is part of the opposition.

Opposition councilor Jocelyn Pesquera said they will sue Osmeña for violating the Omnibus Election Code.

Pesquera said Osmeña resorted to black propaganda when he accused incumbent barangay officials belonging to Team Rama of failing to liquidate financial assistance they received from the city government from 2009 to 2016.

Pesquera also alleged that the BOPK was guilty of indirect vote-buying when it distributed “Malasakit Cards” and offered scholarships during the election. (With PIT Intern Larnie Bacalando and CNU Intern Rose Sharon Sharon Rose Flores)