Cebu moves forward with new leaders
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - May 15, 2019 - 12:00am

LONDON, England — I was going to write about my visit to London, this time my first-ever visit to Windsor Castle, the City of Bath, and yes, Stonehenge, but apparently this travelogue will have to wait for the next day because of the great political news back home when I got the 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. I guess this is the second time Mayor Tomas Osmeña tasted defeat.

From The FREEMAN news that I got in the internet, I gathered this piece of news: “The Commission on Elections Board of Canvassers has yet to proclaim a winner as of last night but Labella was leading by a comfortable margin of 17,326 votes. As of 12:30 p.m. partial and official results, Labella got 255,893 votes while Osmeña got 236,925 votes.” That same report said that Mayor Osmeña conceded defeat, which is why we can safely say that the next Cebu City Mayor is Edgar Labella. Meanwhile, Mayor-elect Labella is showing himself as true to form when he said that he won’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!

People may want to know, why Tommy Osmeña lost? Except for the blind BOPK followers, ordinary Cebuanos disliked the harsh attitude of Mayor Osmeña, especially when he fights businessmen. Rico’s Lechon was a huge example and his fight versus SM, which meant that finally Cebu City would have our version (a better one I heard) of the Arena and SMX projects that were put on hold. Millennial voters did not forget this issue against the mayor.

The debate between mayor-elect Labella and Mayor Osmeña triggered certain results. For instance when the IBP asked about solutions to the traffic problem Mayor Osmeña wasted his time talking about what he did in the past, which was good, but the traffic problem being referred to was today’s traffic, so he didn’t answer the question.

Then during the 888 News Forum a week ago, I asked the mayor why he blocked the Ciudad project citing bad traffic in Banilad, but was okay with the 20-story resource project of Governor Davide when traffic in Escario Street was worse. His reply was: “With the BRT, people will no longer use cars and ride the BRT. Secondly, the people of the Province of Cebu are okay when the province constructs a building for them.” In truth, only the people who live within the BRT route will no longer use cars. But you will still need it to go to the BRT in the first place.

In short, many Cebuanos were alienated by the BOPK’s 20-plus-year rule which hasn’t solved Cebu’s major water issues. Hence it was truly time for Cebu to move forward and many people see Mayor Osmeña’s trying to stay in power as a way of blocking Cebu’s future. This, for me, is the reason he lost the elections. Now that he has time for himself…I suggest that Mayor Osmeña focuses on his medical problems.

Meanwhile, congratulations are in order to mayor-elect Edgar Labella, who listens to people’s advice and vice-mayor-elect Michael Rama. At this point I don’t know if the Cebu City Council is still in the control of the BOPK or not as the counting is still going on. At least in the Province of Cebu kudos to the comeback kid, governor-elect Gwen F. Garcia. Unfortunately, Daphne Salimbangon lost to Governor Davide, which means that we shall see how Davide will block Governor Gwen’s new administration.

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 scrapped electronic voting otherwise we would always have a questionable kind of democracy. Let’s go back to pen and paper!

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