If the “equity of the incumbent” rule is followed, it would be an awkward choice between two leaders.
According to Rep. Rachel del Mar of Cebu City’s north district, the man who can deliver the votes should be the LP’s bet.
She said she was confident the party will endorse Osmeña, former mayor, over Rama.
“I don’t think there will be a problem with LP choosing their candidate for mayor. Congressman Osmeña also remains LP city chairman,” she told Cebu Daily News.
She pointed out that Osmeña’s party, Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK), delivered the votes for LP candidates in 2010.
Rama took his oath with LP even before he broke away from the local ruling BO-PK party in June 2011.
Del Mar, who distributed cash aid to residents hit by a fire in barangay Tinago yesterday, said she is confident the LP would make an exception to the “equity of the incumbent” rule and choose Osmeña.
She and Osmeña are close allies in defending the construction of two more flyovers in Cebu City’s north district, a project Mayor Rama has vigorously opposed.
Osmeña, who has repeatedly criticized Mayor Rama’s decisions in City Hall and his capability to lead the city government, announced last Jan. 25 that he will run for mayor in 2013 to ensure the defeat of Rama’s reelection bid.
The LP’s support became an issue after a brief heated exchange was heard between Osmeña and LP national president Manuel Roxas during their Jan. 30 dinner meeting in Cebu City.
The former mayor at one point was overheard saying, “So what do you want? Kick me out?”
Roxas had brought up Rama’s appearance in LP meetings and the equity of the incumbent rule in choosing candidates.
Osmeña later told CDN he got irritated and was disappointed with the LP’s lack of support for Cebu City despite delivering “one million votes” for Roxas in the 2010 elections.
He said if LP chooses to support Rama’s candidacy, he was prepared to seek election under his local group, BO-PK.
Mayor Rama, back from a vacation abroad, said the heated discussion was “unfortunate” but declined to comment further.
“I don’t want to be answering something which I am not sure about,” he told Cebu Daily News.
Osmeña hosted the Jan. 30 dinner to discuss the LP’s lack of support for Cebu City and Cebu province.
Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said President Benigno Aquino III sent Roxas to Cebu to listen to the complaints of their allies, especially Representative Osmeña who has been complaining of LP’s lack of attention for local allies.
Osmeña said he and Representative Del Mar didn’t get any committee chairmanships in Congress.
He said there’s no other Cebuano in the Cabinet except for Energy Secretary Ruben Almendras, a close college friend of the President.
Not a single project was also given to Cebu so far, the former mayor said.
Yesterday, Representative Del Mar said she was still confident that the LP would keep its alliance with Osmeña and BO-PK.
“He (Osmeña) made LP candidates win in the city . . . And it was because of him that we became LP candidates,” she said. Del Mar said she hasn’t heard LP national officials discuss Cebu’s local political scene.
Osmeña in an earlier interview recalled that he was the first elected official to express support for Roxas when he announced his campaign for the presidency.
He continued to support Roxas when he decided to slide down to vice president and also campaigned for Aquino.
Osmeña said the BO-PK delivered 1 million votes for Roxas alone. “He (Osmeña) had a lot to do with that,” said Del Mar.
Osmeña said the BO-PK has nearly completed its slate, which would consist mostly of young candidates.
Representative Del Mar said that this early, she and her father, former north district representative Raul del Mar, have not yet discussed their plans.
“Anything is possible because unlike the others where father and son both want the same position, we are both yielding,” she said.
Rama said he would answer Osmeña’s announcement of his candidacy during his regular press conference tomorrow.
He declined to comment on reports that he invited BO-PK councilors Edgar Labella and Lea Japson to be his running mate.
He said he felt pity for the two councilors when Osmeña said during his Jan. 25 press conference that the two would have a slim chance against reelectionist Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young.
The former mayor said the two councilors are not known in Cebu City’s south district. The two councilors are from the north district.
While Young is also from the north, his former chairmanship of the council’s education committee established his name. “I feel sorry for Edgar and Leah,” said Rama.
Mayor Rama said he and Labella managed to keep their friendship even after he left BO-PK.
“I have known Edgar for a long time and we have been talking, sharing ideas about a lot of things, including politics,” said Rama. Labella refused to comment. /By Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters with reports from Correspondent Edison delos Angeles