Osmeña bound to lose

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - May 20, 2019 - 12:00am

Cebu City will have a new mayor by noon of June 30. Edgar Labella, the incumbent vice mayor, will replace Tomas Osmeña at the helm of City Hall. He will have become only the fourth person to have been elected Cebu City mayor since 1988, after Osmeña, Alvin Garcia, and Michael Rama.

Garcia, Rama, and Labella all have, at one time, been allied with Osmeña and served as vice mayor to him. Each in turn has fallen out with Osmeña and eventually ran against him and beat him. All three --Garcia, Rama, and Labella-- share common traits that are hard to find in Osmeña. They are all good, decent, humble, and respectful men. Was that why they won?

Here is something interesting. While all three have now gone on record as having beaten Osmeña, Osmeña has his own record to boot as having gone on to beat Garcia and Rama in a rematch, thereby leaving open the question of whether, eventually, he too will beat Labella in a rematch three years down the road.

But 2022 is too far away to speculate on something as fluid and as volatile as politics. The historical facts that I have just mentioned are too insufficient to establish anything more substantial than just statistical probability. Nevertheless, everything about politics is always a matter of possibilities.

So back to the burning question of why Osmeña lost. Many have already offered their own assessments but if we go by the statistical probability that springs from the records of these four men since 1988, then we can say that Osmeña was bound to lose to Labella, just as he had once lost to Garcia and Rama.

Maybe the Cebuanos always feel the need for a little change in the atmosphere, especially since Osmeña has this peculiar ability to foul up the air with his high-handedness and arrogance. And yet, Osmeña, at least in the cases with Garcia and Rama, has always managed to come back. Only the case of Labella remains to be seen.

I have a hunch about these comebacks. It would seem that the good, decent, humble, and respectful men that Cebuanos have time and again given the chance to replace high-handed and arrogant leadership just always seem to fall short of expectations and that maybe high-handedness and arrogance are eventually more tolerable than, perhaps, failed promises.

I do not think Osmeña or any if his mayoral opponents have done anything spectacularly good or bad to merit a win or result in a loss. I think Cebu City has just fallen into a vicious cycle of the very same faces running for the same office. Cebuanos have become discombobulated by the apparent lack of any real and fresh choices.

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