Editorial: Suing Tommy O-A A +A
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
IN MARCH 2005, then Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña, who had engaged first district Rep. Eduardo Gullas in a verbal exchange, ordered the portion of the Cebu South Coastal Road that traverses the South Road Properties (SRP) closed to vehicular traffic supposedly for security and other concerns.
The SRP segment of the coastal road connects to Talisay City, the first local government unit in the first district going to the south. The general belief was that the coastal road closure was prompted by Osmeña’s conflict with Gullas.
Commuters protested but, considering Osmeña’s nature, the coastal road remained closed—until lawyer Alfredo Sipalay decided to seek relief from the court. By October of that year, Regional Trial Court Judge Soliver Peras ordered the Cebu City Government “to remove all obstacles at the south coastal road.”
That incident proved once more the logic in what 18th century writer, orator and political theorist Edmund Burke admonished. “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing,” he had said then.
But what Sipalay did seems to have since then become more of an exception rather than the norm. Osmeña has often gotten away with using strong-arm and oppressive tactics against his opponents simply because nobody stands up to put him in his place. This fear, or indifference, has allowed tyranny to gain headway in the city’s governance.
In a way, the people are also to blame for the kind of leader Osmeña turned out to be.
He now thinks he can violate rules with impunity and eventually get away with it. An example is that “sue me” dare that he issued recently to those who criticized him for his controversial use of two vehicles that many thought were donated by the Bigfoot firm to the city.
True enough, nobody seems to have acquired the daring to bring Osmeña to court for what is obviously his abuse of his influence. Even Mayor Michael Rama, a lawyer and protector of the city’s interest, could only issue an empty challenge for the Ombudsman and to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to go after Osmeña on the matter.
“Naa may DILG, naa may Ombudsman. I will challenge them. Nganong ako pa man ang mo-file?” he was quoted as saying.
Edmund Burke must be turning in his grave.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 13, 2012.