Endorsement of Duterte favorite raises questions in Cebu
CEBU CITY — The saying that actions speak louder than words may provide clues to the political game that Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who is running for reelection, was playing nowadays.
On Saturday, Osmeña endorsed the candidacy of Christopher “Bong” Go, once President Rodrigo Duterte’s most trusted aide who continued to be constantly by his side.
The endorsement came just four days after Osmeña’s absence became one of the most visible signs that something was afoot when former President Benigno Aquino III led a campaign rally here for Otso Diretso, the opposition Senate ticket.
It also came months after the President publicly castigated Osmeña and threatened to slap the mayor for arrogance and spreading “lies” against the administration.
Osmeña’s open support for Go fueled speculation that it was meant to appease the President.
Sources told the Inquirer that Osmeña met with the President after the latter’s public rant against Osmeña in speeches last year.
The same source said the only condition allegedly asked by the President to restore broken relations was for Osmeña to include Go on the mayor’s list of senatorial candidates.
While Cebu province has a voting population of three million, the biggest in the country, Cebu City’s voting population has reached at least 700,000.
In previous interviews, Osmeña said he had been friends with Go even when the President was still mayor of Davao City.
At the proclamation rally of Osmeña’s local party Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) on Saturday, the mayor took the microphone to endorse Go before a crowd of at least 15,000.
The mayor even played a three-minute video that looked like a political ad of Go.
Go was absent but represented by comedian Ai-Ai delas Alas who told the crowd what to expect of a Senator Go — more Malasakit Centers, a one-stop shop in hospitals catering to the needs of the poor.
BOPK, in coalition with Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, has endorsed a mix of candidates for senator.
These included the mayor’s brother, Serge, Go and reelectionist Senators Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara.
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