CEBU, Philippines - While other candidates of the May 10 elections were busy wrapping up their campaigns yesterday, the last day of the campaign period, Ermita barangay captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta, who is an ally of the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan, shifted his support to opposition mayoralty candidate Alvin Garcia.
In front of dozens of his supporters gathered at the Ermita Sports Complex after their caravan yesterday, Rupinta who is running as an independent councilor in the city’s north district, raised Garcia’s right hand as he announced that he is supporting the former mayor’s candidacy.
“Ako lang klarohon nga wala g’yod ko mobali sa Kugi Uswag Sugbo kon Kusug kay ang gisuportahan ra g’yud nako mao ra si Alvin,” Rupinta said, referring to former mayor Garcia, the standard-bearer of Kusug, the lone opposition party in Cebu City.
Now that he already announced his open support for Garcia, the barangay captain expects a landslide victory for Alvin in his barangay which has 5,900 registered voters.
“Sigurado g’yud nga modaug si Alvin diri sa Ermita kay pinangga man ko sa mga lumulopyo sa akong lugar,” he said.
Aside from the residents of Ermita, Rupinta claimed that majority of the 17,000 vendors under the Cebu City United Vendors Association who are residents of the north district are supporting his candidacy and there is a big possibility that they will also support Garcia.
Congressional aspirant Jonathan “Atan” Guardo in a press statement last night said “Mi-collapse na ang machinery sa BOPK human mibali si Rupinta. Several other north and south barangay captains are ready to come out in the open.”
Guardo also claimed that the slate of mayoralty aspirant Georgia Osmeña has also decided to support the Kusug candidates.
“Pastilan, kuyaw-kuyaw na hinoon ni karon nga modaug si Alvin pagka-mayor,” said Felicidad Anoba, a resident of barangay Mabolo.
Rupinta was hoping to be included by the mayor in the BOPK slate for councilor because there were five vacant slots, but instead Osmeña picked urban poor leader Alvin Dizon, Talamban barangay captain Alvin Arcilla, Luz barangay captain Nida Cabrera, Pahina Central barangay captain Sisinio Andales and former Sambag 2 barangay captain Noel Wenceslao to fill up the vacant posts.
Kusug offered Rupinta to be part of their slate, but the barangay captain chose to run as an independent candidate instead.
“Gipasaligan ko ni Alvin nga kon siya mahimong mayor, siya maoy tugyanan sa pagdumala sa Committee on Markets, Housing and Urban Poor,” Rupinta said, “Makatabang g’yud si Alvin nga makab-ot nako na kon modaug ming duha.”
Garcia issued a press statement last night criticizing the administration of Osmeña and Rama.
“The city is in a deplorable state of neglect. Potholed streets, unlighted public places, surging criminality, chaotic traffic with all dirt and squalor that even the mayor’s sister, Georgia, finds woeful,” Garcia said.
He described Rama as not fit to be mayor because he is a puppet of Osmeña.
“How could Mike (Rama) make a good mayor when except for general denial he has not adequately explained the accusation of protecting drug lords, a charge that Tomas Osmeña himself raised and for which the master publicly rebuked Rama?” Garcia said.
Guardo said that several BOPK leaders have come to realize that their “Gusto ko Healthy” campaign has hit a raw nerve among voters.
“They want Health a primary concern,” says Guardo. Last Sunday, leaders in ten urban barangays defected to Guardo’s camp which was followed by senior citizens leaders in the south.
Guardo said that several northern and southern barangay captains are ready to come out in the open and their leaders were sending him feelers saying the issue on health and drug coddling has resonated among BOPK supporters.(FREEMAN NEWS)