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Opinion

Some political possibilities

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

Many Cebuanos heaved a sigh of relief to hear the latest news that Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella was already discharged from the hospital. We are gladdened by reports he is recovering. A photograph of him reading The Freeman a few days before he left the hospital warmed our hearts. His health has, until a few days ago, been subject to so much worrying speculation.

 While Mayor Labella was still infirmed, there seemed some serious political discussions that added weight to the worrisome idea he was getting incapacitated. His own political party, the PDP, fueled nasty thoughts because it was heard to have announced during a supposed party national convention that Councilor Raymond Garcia was its bet for vice mayor in 2022. Why would it do that? I saw unmistakable Facebook posts in that regard with Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino raising Garcia’s hand. Accompanying that post was the report that the party would adopt Vice Mayor Michael Rama as its guest candidate for mayor. What about Labella, people asked.

It’s a good time for the Labella-Rama tandem to recoup earlier political erosions. Doubts over his health dampened the spirit of many of the mayor’s supporters. There is a present need for them to repair the damage caused by the earlier report that the mayor was so sick as to be incapable of running the affairs of the city, such that he has become a non-factor in the city’s politics. Now that Labella has survived a reported medical scare, he has to demonstrate he is ready to tackle his responsibilities. His leadership is needed. Today, his physical appearance is a must. Let him dispel lingering doubts. To me, the proof of the pudding, as the idiom goes, is in the eating. He may not understandably be really that robust yet to walk to his office unaided but a press conference with the mayor personally answering all questions will assure all doubting Thomases.

We acknowledge the political acumen of Mayor Labella. For him to show it, let the mayor now give a broad hint of his team. A confident exposure of his team-up with Rama is definitely the first positive action. That Rama will still be his running mate will quell the serious anxiety among the latter’s partisans. Then he needs to give the profile of his slate. While this move is somewhat delayed, it isn’t too late. The choices he makes shall determine his full grasp of both idealistic and practical politics. His corps of leaders as well as his horde of supporters await his seizing control of the dynamics of the converging, if not contrasting interests of his probable candidates.

Since Labella’s party can rely on the solidity of the strength of Rama in the south district, he (and/or Rama) has to form a line-up of councilors who can contend with the individual and collective forces of those in the BOPK in the north. That district is their main battle ground of sorts.

In the event the mayor prefers taking care of his health over the mayorship, and Rama carries on the banner, they should consider opening the vice mayoralty to a non-PDP and non-Barug member like ABC President Franklyn Ong. What about Councilor Raymond Garcia? He should go back to the council and lead the party in their goal to secure majority in the next council. To me, Garcia, Alcover, and Garganera can put up a good fight as to be expected to win. These are the personalities with recorded victories that I heard to be in the Labella-Rama shortlist. The three of them can add to the six or seven PDP-Barug bets that the vaunted Rama machinery can tow to victory and the resulting numbers will be dominant.

EDGARDO LABELLA

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