Tom expects Mike to bolt

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Monday, November 8, 2010


REP. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) foresees a breakaway group in the 2013 election, if Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama continues to befriend their political enemies.

Merely four months into Rama’s first term as mayor, Osmeña, his predecessor, said the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) will no longer support Rama if the mayor won’t change his political style.

“He abandoned our leaders and he wants everybody to be together but he will not even invite us to the oath-taking of barangay officials? He keeps on blaming his staff, everything is the fault of his staff,” Osmeña said.

“Lupig pa niya si Pontius Pilate nga nanghugas sa iyang mga kamot (He has washed his hands more than Pontius Pilate ever did).”

Rama said he never abandoned their leaders and did not try to approach the barangay leaders of political opponents.

“Sala diay na nako nga sila may muduol nako? Ang ako man gud nga gitan-aw mao ang kaayuhan sa atong dakbayan. Sige na lang, kay naa may giingon nga different folks, different strokes, dili na lang ta mopuno ana (The captains were the ones who approached me. All I want is what’s good for the city. As they say, ‘Different folks, different strokes.’ I’d rather not say anything further),” Rama said.

Osmeña’s public criticisms of Rama have provoked comparisons to what happened ahead of the 2001 elections, when Osmeña and then mayor Alvin Garcia first ran against each other. Like Rama, Garcia served as Osmeña’s vice mayor, before running for mayor as the administration candidate in 1995.

Osmeña said he doesn’t want to compare Rama with Garcia.

In an interview, Garcia advised Rama to just do what is best for the City if he is determined to serve the Cebuanos.

“If he thinks it takes our unity for the good of the city, then so be it. Kay kanang politics ni Tomas vindictive man gud, dili gyud na mayo (Tomas’s brand of politics is vindictive and that does no good),” Garcia said.

Although it’s too early to think of the 2013 elections, said Garcia, he agreed it’s possible for Rama to defect from the BOPK if their internal problem continues.

Osmeña, for his part, said BOPK will remain intact even if Rama creates his own group.

Mayor Rama drew the ire of the congressman with the recent mass oath-taking for the newly elected Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and barangay officials, where opposition figures were invited to join the ceremony.

Among those who took their oath before Rama were reelected Barangay Captains Eugenio Gabuya Jr. of Cogon-Pardo and Jerry Guardo of Sambag I, and Barangay Captain Jose Navarro of Punta Princesa, who made his political comeback.

Osmeña accused Rama of abandoning their leaders in the Oct. 25 SK and barangay elections, citing the losses of their allies in Lahug, Bulacao, Punta Princesa and Cogon-Pardo, among others.

“Ayaw lang ug kalimti nga kung muduol siya sa among mga kontra, makasabot unta siya nga dili na mi musuporta niya sa sunod nga eleksyon. Simple kaayo na (I hope he doesn’t forget that by approaching the opposition, he waives our support for him in the next election),” said Osmeña.

The first-term congressman also criticized the mayor for delivering an accomplishment report on his first 100 days in office.

“Unsay iyang nahimo sa 100 days? Asa man ang giaspalto? Asa man ang gitrabaho nga drainage system? Tagai ko ug magnifying glass aron ako nang makita. (What did he do in those 100 days? Where are the asphalted roads, the drainage system? Give me a magnifying lens so I can see.) Asa ang performance? It’s too soon to say but he was the one who gave a timetable,” Osmeña said.

He alleged that the mayor dismantled the Barangay Intelligence Network (BIN) and kicked out some police officials from the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), including Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, Supt. Paul Labra and Chief Insp. George Ylanan.

Rama, however, denied that he relieved Labra and Ylanan, although he did recommend the replacement of Comendador, the former city police chief. (By the time he was replaced, Comendador had been police chief for more than three years; police policy discourages officials from serving in one position for longer than that.)

The mayor said his report after his first 100 days was his way of showing accountability to the public. He declined to respond to Osmeña’s comment that his rating for Rama would be “incomplete.”

“Ako man na, dili man na iya, dili na lang ta ana mag-estorya kay kanang pagpanaway man gud sayon ra kaayo na (This is my responsibility, not his. I’d rather not talk about that. It’s too easy to keep criticizing),” Rama said.

In 1988, Osmeña ran for mayor with Garcia as vice mayor. Both won reelection in 1992, but in 1995, Osmeña stepped aside and Garcia ran for mayor. Garcia got reelected in 1998, but they began falling-out and ended up running against each other in 2001 and 2004. Term limits kept Osmeña from seeking reelection last May.

Rama has been allied with Osmeña since 1992, as well, as a councilor. He was Osmeña’s running mate in 2001 and they won three consecutive terms, ending on June 30, 2010.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 08, 2010.

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