Post election surprises in Cebu
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2019 - 12:00am

LONDON: I’m supposed to continue writing on what I’m doing in London during my family vacation. However, I got the Facebook news that Vice-Mayor Edgar Labella won his bid to be the next mayor of Cebu City and his partner Michael Rama once more goes back to City Hall to be the next vice-mayor of Cebu City. Sounds surreal? Actually Mayor Osmeña already lost to then Mayor Michael Rama during the 2013 mid-term elections. So I guess this is the 2nd time Mayor Tomas Osmeña tasted defeat. Maybe he ought to stop running during mid-term elections.

I gathered that Mayor Osmeña already conceded defeat, which is why we can safely say that our next Cebu City Mayor is Edgar Labella. Meanwhile, Mayor-elect Labella is showing his being true to form when he said that he wouldn’t declare victory until the last votes are counted. Finally, we have a humble man as Cebu City mayor, which should be good for Cebu! Just to remind our friends, this is Labella’s new lease on life… during the sinking of the Princess of the Orient in Sept. 1998, Labella then a councilor was adrift for two days until he was rescued. Hence he believes that God has given him a new role in helping Cebuanos as our new mayor.

Why then did Mayor Tommy Osmeña lose? The truth is, ordinary Cebuanos disliked the harsh attitude of Mayor Osmeña, especially when he fights businessmen. Rico’s Lechon was a huge example, when he shut it down for not paying taxes. Rico’s Lechon was a partner of the Mayor’s son. Then there was the Mayor’s fight vs. SM. That fight put on hold great projects like Cebu City’s version (a better one I heard) of the Arena and SMX projects. Millennial voters did not forget this issue vs. the Mayor because Cebu City needs to be like Metro Manila, having an Arena and SMX.

Two Mondays ago, there was a debate between Mayor-elect Labella and Mayor Osmeña. Being the incumbent, ordinary Cebuanos know that Mayor Osmeña never accepts challenges for a debate especially when he is miles ahead of the competition. If you make a mistake in the debate, you could end up losing votes than gaining them. So when the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu Chapter invited Mayor Osmeña to debate with Vice-Mayor Labella, Mayor Osmeña readily accepted the challenge, little did Mayor Osmeña realize that many Cebuano voters strongly believe that he was tailing behind Labella because he accepted to debate with his opponent. 

When the IBP asked the question on how to solve the traffic problem… Mayor Osmeña wasted his time talking about what he did in the past for traffic in Cebu City, which was then very good, but the question to the Mayor was about the traffic problem today, so in a way he didn’t answer the question. That debate was televised and many people saw it.

Now what I call the biggest surprise of these elections was the stunning and unexpected victory of former Liloan Mayor Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco as the new representative-elect of Cebu’s fifth district, which is composed of the city of Danao, and towns of Borbon, Carmen, Catmon, Compostela, Liloan, Pilar, Poro, San Francisco, Sogod and Tudela. This is the first time in 70 years, that Cebu’s fifth district will no longer be represented by a Durano in Congress.

Just imagine that this was even before the year I was born! Congrats not only to Duke, but also to his wife, Liloan’s reelected Mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco and their three young children. If you’ve been to Liloan lately, it has began to look brighter and better than the old days. This is what happens when new blood comes into political power and removes the old dynastic families from politics.

 Meanwhile in Cebu Province kudos to the “comeback kid” Governor-elect Gwen Garcia. Unfortunately her vice gubernatorial candidate Daphne Salimbangon lost to Gov. Davide, who slid down to vice-governor, which means that we shall see how Davide would still block Gov. Gwen’s new administration for the betterment of Cebu because in truth Davide has done nothing for the province.

On the senatorial front, we have all administration supported candidates led by Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Bong Go, Pia Cayetano, Bato dela Rosa, Sonny Angara, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Nancy Binay, Koko Pimentel and Bong Revilla to complete the so-called “Magic 12.” Now whether JV Ejercito can make it is still a huge question. Otso Diretso had eight candidates in the Senate race and they all lost.

For sure they are going to blame Smartmatic now supposedly being used by the Duterte administration. Unfortunately for them when the Liberal Party was in power, they never cared to listen to my good friend, Atty. Glenn Chong. At this point, it is high time we scrap electronic voting otherwise we would always have a questionable kind of democracy. Let’s go back to paper and pen!

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