Sunday , June 24, 2018

Malilong: Mike Rama as councilor?

A FRIEND, who read our column on the possible appointment of Junjun Osmeña as replacement for the resigning Hanz Abella in the city council, is asking, why not former mayor Mike Rama?

Indeed, why not? Rama started his political career as a city councilor, a position that he held for nine years. Experience-wise, he is good fit. His appointment also makes political sense for Team Rama as it would place him in a position to shepherd the opposition in the council, allowing Vice Mayor Edgar Labella to steer clear of political controversies and maintain his stature as statesman in the council.

It will also not be without precedent. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not consider it beneath her dignity to aspire for congressman representing her district in Pampanga after her term as president of the Republic ended. She’s still there until now.

Rama will surely get the endorsement of former vice president Jejomar Binay, under whose party Abella won, if he seeks it. That would be a small favor to grant someone who has stood by the United Nationalist Alliance candidate at a time when his other allies were quickly deserting him.

Mike’s only problem – and it’s a huge one – is whether he can get the nod of President Duterte, who, to this day, has not retracted his accusation that the former Cebu City mayor was a drug protector. An appointment by Duterte would be vindication for Rama but the question is, is the president willing to eat his words?

It would be doubly embarrassing for Mike if, having actively sought Abella’s seat, he loses it to someone else. That was what I told my friend. Even if he may indeed be interested in returning to the city council, Rama will not show it unless he is fairly certain that the president will appoint him. At this stage, the possibility of that happening is nil but as they always say, politics is the art of the possible. It all starts with Mike, however. Is he interested?


The police, particularly the Regional Intelligence Division, should be praised for the very good sleuthing work that resulted in the arrest of nine Koreans for illegal online gaming. But I’m afraid that their efforts will later prove to be for naught. Those Koreans are not staying in Philippine jail for long. They will be flying to Korea faster than you can say, wait.

We’ve had so many similar instances in the past to warrant our jaded view on the chances of foreign offenders getting justly punished. If they’re not deported, they’ll go home on their own after they have posted bail. Either way, they go scot-free. Some of them will probably even come back under assumed names to thumb their nose at us.

Incidentally, whatever happened to the case of that African woman who was arrested at the airport trying to bring in illegal drugs? What about the Chinese woman who was caught under the same circumstances? In China, a number of Filipino mules have been executed. It would be a travesty if we let that woman go.