Mike and Bebs-A A +A
Saturday, July 7, 2012
WHEN Mayor Mike Rama severed his ties with south district Rep. Tommy Osmeña, a number of people found themselves in a very uncomfortable position because they were friends to both men. One of them was Councilor Sisinio “Bebs” Andales.
It’s like walking a tightrope was how Bebs described his situation when I saw him at his office in 2010. “We do not want to offend any one of them,” he said.
Two years later, it seems that Bebs has succeeded in offending Mike, who is asking his neighbor in Basak-San Nicolas whether the former is trying to end their personal relationship. What drew the mayor’s ire were the comments that Bebs reportedly made regarding the alleged use of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) funds at the Rama Compound.
Andales made the remarks during the discussion by the city council on the report of the city accountant on the disbursement of the funds that the gaming agency donates to the city annually. “Render a report within 15 days,” Bebs was supposed to have told the accountant. “It seems the Office of the Mayor is spending left and right especially at the Rama Compound as what I have heard.”
That stings. Mike says it may be libelous.
The statement consists of two allegations, both of which Bebs disclaims any personal knowledge of. He says he merely heard it. The first is that Mike is spending the Pagcor money left and right; the other is that the spending is particularly wasteful at the Rama Compound.
Both Mike and Bebs are lawyers who know their law on libel. Mike can take offense, as he did, from an accusation of impropriety in his handling of public funds. But Bebs also has a duty to make sure that all government money is well spent.
Moreover, Bebs was careful enough to say that Mike spent the money “at,” not “for,” the Rama Compound. This could be taken to mean that the money was only released inside the mayor’s residence but was not necessarily spent there.
As to the allegations of profligacy, the mayor can always instruct his accountant to produce the detailed report that the councilor is requiring. And even if Bebs’ information is inaccurate and he knew it but nevertheless made the remarks to annoy or embarrass Mike, he (the mayor) knows that it comes with the territory.
Both he and Bebs are aware, because they are already deep into it, that while the official campaign period has not yet started, this is already the election season and therefore anything goes. What was it that the Supreme Court said soothes the pains inflicted by an unfair and unjust accusation? Nothing but the balm of a clean conscience.
Come on, gentlemen. You may be on opposite sides of the political fence now. But your respective families have been neighbors for many years and I can only assume, since I do not know who between you is older, that you grew up together. Why talk about ending a relationship that has been built over the years? It’s only politics.
This joke was sent by Ramon Dacay of Green Coil:
Teacher: What is the capital of the Philippines? Chinese Student: Mam, kahit ako intsik, ako alam Pilipinas. Pilipinas, wala capital, pulo utang.
Well, that was true a few years ago. Now, the government says that not only have we paid off most of our debts, we are actually ready to lend $1 billion to other countries. We do have capital now. That may be a little difficult for the naysayers to accept but, as they say, figures don’t lie.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 08, 2012.