Mayor wants Zafra out

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is against the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

In his news conference, Osmeña said he also wants incumbent Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president Phillip Zafra replaced in the City Council.

He said that having a Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) candidate sit as ex-officio member in the council would help the administration secure the majority. Zafra is a member of the opposition.

“I want to push through with the barangay elections. I have an agenda and it’s not hidden. We need to kick out Zafra and I need to get the SK. I need to get the majority in the City Council. I’m willing to fight it out and tell the people to give me their support so we can change the ABC and we’ll have the SK. We can get the majority back. Otherwise, our development will be hampered,” Osmeña said.

Voting 14-2, the House committee on electoral reforms decided to postpone the barangay and SK elections to Oct. 8.

Osmeña, though, remains hopeful that the Senate will object.

The mayor lamented that delaying the barangay polls is toying with democracy.

“Just to remind people, the essence of democracy is that you choose your leader. Democracy means elections. If the people do not choose their leader, it’s not democratic. We take the word for granted,” he said.

Zafra, for his part, said the ABC, too, wants the barangay elections to be held in May, especially with the operation of the barangay mayor’s office.

He also said that he respects the mayor’s wish to throw him out of the council.

“That’a a political stand on his side. BOPK has been trying to get me to jump ship but I don’t have to change parties to continue to serve the public,” he said in Cebuano.

Last month, Osmeña admitted that BOPK had been wooing Zafra, but the latter said he would stay with Barug Team Rama.

“Nindot naay (It’s nice to have) checks and balances. At the end of the day, it will always be the people who will decide,” Zafra said.

At present, 65 of the city’s 80 barangays remains allied with the opposition, he said.