Embarrassed Rama-A A +A
Thursday, August 9, 2012
WE all have gone through some embarrassing moments in ourlives. A woman joins a beauty pageant, gets all the praises for her beauty and the way she carries herself on stage until she reaches the Q and A part and finally opens her mouth to speak. She stammers, gropes for words and ends up firing a non-answer to the question asked. Her world crumbles.
Some embarrassing moments happen away from the limelight, others are committed in the open. Both are shameful experiences but in the latter case the feeling is worse. Like when you are the mayor and you announce that you would veto a “dumb” ordinance passed by the city council but unknowingly signs it. Dumb, right?
But first off, let us consider the process the documents signed by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, the chief executive in question, go through. There are hundreds of them and they pass a sifting stage by his staff, including the city administrator, in this case Jose Marie Poblete. Those with important content are separated from those related to regular bureaucratic functions. The signing of the latter at times becomes ministerial, the mayor relying heavily on the good judgment of his staff.
An executive does that to speed up the bureaucratic process and for practical reasons. You can’t be spending all your time examining every document. In a city, tens of them reach the mayor’s office daily. I know what it’s like to be signing many documents when you have other important functions to attend to because I also do that almost daily.
Either of these two points can apply regarding the hole Rama is in on the controversial measure on the South Road Properties (SRP): he and his staff were careless or a “golden hand” did them in. Carelessness could involve his staff inadvertently mixing the ordinance, which the mayor had repeatedly said he would veto, with the regular documents. The “golden hand” refers to one who either purposely mixed the documents or forged the mayor’s signature to embarrass him.
Either way, what happened is an embarrassment of epic proportion considering several factors: one, it involves a controversial measure that the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK)-dominated city council passed both to tie Rama’s hands and to humor him; two, it happens at a time when the campaign for the 2013 elections has “unofficially” started; three, it provides ammo to the BOPK p.r. group, which has been touting Rep. Tomas Osmeña’s advantage over Rama in managing city hall affairs.
This, though, is not as embarrassing as the purchase by the Provincial Government of the Balili property, which was later found to be partly underwater, but it could turn off a chunk of the voters who are neutral or are grudgingly for Rama. And it further complicates an issue that could have followed the usual legislative process of the mayor vetoing an ordinance and the city council overriding it, if ever.
As expected, BOPK members in the city council pounced on the error by noting the ordinance as having been approved by the mayor. Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7 legal department chief said the question on whether the ordinance has already been approved or not may have to be resolved by the mayor and the city council. Or Rama can undo the error by going to court.
In the end, the mayor can take comfort from the words of inventor Douglas Engelbart who said thus: “The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportional to the embarrassment he can tolerate.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 10, 2012.