Monday , June 25, 2018

Malilong: Sauce for all

COUNCILORS belonging to Barug Team Rama boycotted their session the other day purportedly as a sign of protest against the BOPK for maneuvering to expel Association of Barangay Councils president Philip Zafra from his ex-officio membership in the Cebu City Council.

What a joke. I have gone over the majority councilors’ explanation for their mass action so many times but couldn’t find any reason to say they did the right thing. On the contrary, the more I tried to understand the rationale stated in their flowery letter of explanation, the more I was convinced that the boycott was nothing but a senseless gesture.

First of all, the councilors, who are all seasoned politicians, know that political maneuvering is a way of life in their field. Every politician does it. Barug, when it was known only as Team Rama, did it in 2013 in an effort to decimate the ranks of the BOPK and gain full control of City Hall. They succeeded in persuading BOPK Councilors Gerry Carillo, Richie Osmeña and Noel Wenceslao to switch sides although they were unable to gather the number that would have allowed them to wrest the council leadership.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot and Barug Team Rama councilors are complaining that Tomas Osmeña is trying to undermine the independence of the council. Holy cow! What’s sauce for the goose isn’t sauce for the gander?

Let’s grant that Osmeña’s means of gaining new adherents lack the subtlety of Mike Rama’s and that after winning over three Team Rama councilors through cajolery, he has been behaving like a bull in a china shop especially in Philip Zafra’s case. But is that reason to abandon one’s job even for only a day?

Secondly, the protesting councilors saw how Osmeña has so far failed in his campaign to unseat Zafra and that he is likely to fail again when the bill postponing the barangay elections is signed by President Duterte. In other words, the “flamboyant parade of bad faith and malice” did not work.

This is not to say that the councilors could or should not protest. But there must be a better way, one that does not compromise their duty to participate in council deliberations. If they wanted to show that they have had enough of his gross disrespect for the rule of law, and if they wanted us to know how determined they are to protect their hallowed hall from a marauding mayor and his minions, couldn’t they have done so without going on mass absence on a session day? Couldn’t they have waited another 24 hours and brought to City Hall placards denouncing the mayor?

They could not, apparently, and staged what Margot Osmeña said was a “drama” that they did not need. Margot‘s observation is far from being unbiased but it is right. We do not need the distraction.

The tragedy last Wednesday lay in that a group of otherwise intelligent and mature people gave in to childish pique and surrendered the high moral ground that they held.