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Remembering Sonny O

John H. Osmeña got to live until 86 years old. I did not really know him personally. But I got acquainted with some people close to him. One of them was his only child, John-john. This column, nevertheless, is not about the son who I hope to meet again soon.

The former senator had previous brushes with death. He was injured during the pre-martial law Plaza Miranda bombing. Then months ago, he recovered from Covid-19. A columnist Bong Wenceslao described him as the last of Cebu’s legislators who distinguished himself at the national scene. Apparently, after the death of Cong. Tony Cuenco and Raul del Mar, the others at the Lower House failed to impress this political observer.

However, I remember JHO or Sonny O’s impact on local politics and the economy. Sometime during the short stint of Pres. Erap Estrada for example, the senator who chaired the powerful committee on finance at the Senate told Cebuanos “pagpuasa mo.” Enraged that Cebu City voters did not include him in the Magic 12, he deprived the South Reclamation Project (SRP) of national funding. This prompted then Mayor Tomas Osmeña to fund this crucial endeavor with a multi-billion loan from Japan.

Of course, he was an ally of a political figure I admired, Gov. Tingting dela Serna. There were also not so known endeavors like his alliance with the late Rolly Kintanar, who by 1998 to 2001 was already known as the former NPA chief.

In 2004, JHO did things that angered the UP community. I believed the community ganged up on him and contributed to his defeat for another senatorial term. I think this is one tidbit of political history that the Duterte administration forgot when recently it went after the UP community. The resbak could be a UP community and alumni working against the candidacy of presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Megawide

Perhaps the faction of Mayor Edgar Labella can win a compromise between Megawide and the vendors of Carbon market. That much we can read between the lines during a press conference organized by the vendors with the help of pro-Labella personalities. However, the challenge would be the CFI Cooperative led by Winston Garcia. Some media quarters expect Winston to file a case against the project soon.

Binaliw waste facility

The waste facility in Barangay Binaliw earned late last year the support of Mayor Labella. After all, the DENR cleared the facility and it presented a cost-effective waste management system. However, this did not sit well with an influential quarter within the Cebu City Council especially after the City Hall stopped the operations of the so-called transfer station in Barangay Inayawan. Naay nawad-ag negusyo sa Inayawan? O naay nawani sa Binaliw?

(Emmanuel Mongaya is co-founder and director for Strategic PR of PRWorks Inc. He is also a member of the Political Officers League of the Philippines or POLPhil. DM him @anol_cebu)