Monday, August 27, 2012
A three-cornered race for City Hall is almost certain in the May 2013 elections.
Political observers see the race for the city mayorship could turn out more exciting, with each of the three contenders matching each other peso-for-peso to woe the majority of Tagbilaran's 45,000 voters.
The slates are almost complete with two groups confident of getting the official nomination of the country's leading political parties – the Aquino administration's Liberal Party (LP) and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice Pres. Jejomar Binay.
The early favorite in city mayoralty surveys, City Councilor John Geesnell "Baba" Yap, is teaming up with City Councilor Anne Mariquit Oppus, to form the "third force" as the group appear to be the unlikely pick of the LP hierarchy based on recent pronouncements of local party stalwarts who are heavily favoring the tandem of former city councilor and lawyer Agustinus "Dodong" Gonzaga and former vice mayor Jose Antonio Veloso as official bets for mayor and vice mayor.
City Mayor Dan Lim, who is ineligible to seek another term, is endorsing his elder brother Dr. Abraham Lim, which comes with the incumbent mayor's political organization that he has held and fortified since his ascendance to office in 2004.
Lim pairs with reelectionist City Vice Mayor Nuevas Tirol-Montes whose ticket includes majority of incumbent city councilors who are seeking another term.
The Lim-Montes slate is sure to get the nomination of UNA while the LP will endorse the Gonzaga-Veloso ticket.
With or without the support of any major political party, the Yap-Oppus group seems to be making headway in the grassroots level. Baba Yap has been seen feverishly building his own political base after he was kicked out from the political party led by his own uncle (Mayor Lim).
All three groups however are reputed to be equipped with the needed logistical war chest which will most likely prove decisive in the coming mayoralty derby.
Yap is perceived by many city electors as the most popular among the three contenders and with his financial capability – he is also expected to saddle most of his slate up to the finish line.
The Gonzaga-Veloso ticket said it is in the process of "shortlisting" some 16 aspirants for city councilor. However, the lineup will include incumbent City Councilor Alberta Torralba.
Meanwhile, incumbent city lawmakers Nerio Zamora II, Genesyl Balbin, Lucille Lagunay, Doni Piquero and Philipp Besas (ABC) will be running under the Lim-Montes slate.
Team Yap-Oppus, on the other hand, confirmed several of its bets for city councilor which includes, incumbent City Councilor Bebiano Inting, former congressman Adam Relson Jala, Joseph Bompat (son of City Councilor Edgar Bompat), Barangay Cogon Kagawad Jerry Pabe, Poblacion 2 Barangay Kagawad Dr. Allan Ricardo Real, Poblacion 3 Kagawad Salome Vitorillo, former Cogon kagawad Charles Cabalit, Tim Butalid and Eliezer Borja (brother of Councilor Edi Borja).