Not serf or doormat-A A +A
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Black propaganda,” sneered councilors Michael Ralota and Augustus Pe. The Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) candidates denied they were nailed, red-handed, for dangling P200,000, before a namesake of towering Mary Ann de Santos, to seek election.
A resident of Barangay T. Padilla, Marietta de los Santos has never held office. She went public with details of a Gorordo hotel room bribe offer on Oct. 2 before Team Rama candidates.
“Wala ko mosugot, the 42-year-old housewife revealed. Have Ralota and Pe read the classic “Ivanhoe?” In this tale, Sir Walter Scott used the phrase “red-handed” for the first time. Since 1819, its meaning gradually broadened, beyond blood on hands, to other misdeeds.
Pe says he didn’t participate in interviewing Marietta with Jun Cugay, Rep. Tomas Osmeña’s aide. If he had P200,000, he’d blow it on the south district, where he’s running.
We are not capable of bribery, Ralota told Sun.Star. Now that you mention it, he talked with Marietta. It was Oct. 2 at a Gorordo hotel. But I asked if she’d lead a barangay’s women’s group. Ha, ha, ha,. ha, ha.
Mary Ann de los Santos was not amused. “This displays the kind of party they are,” she fumed. “To all who have the same family name, please do not allow others to use you.”
“Black propaganda,” echoed Rep. Tomas Osmeña, BOPK’s capo: “We’re not that desperate to field a nuisance candidate.” Cebuanos have seen similar underhanded gimmicks before. We certainly have.
In 2003, Mayor Osmeña sliced P32 million from 20 percent development fund intended for human development needs. He diverted slabs ranging from P1 million to P250,000 to “BOPK barangays.” Eighteen barangays that didn’t vote BOPK were shut out.
“I’m giving them a dose of their own medicine,” snapped Osmeña. “They don’t recognize me, so I won’t recognize them.”
“This uses tax money to punish…vulnerable adults, lactating mothers and children,” Philippine Daly Inquirer retorted. “Has Mayor Osmeña demoted himself from chief executive of a major city to overlord of friendly barangays?”
After being repeatedly trashed in Lahug, Osmeña cut gasoline for barangay garbage trucks. That adversely affected health conditions. Then, he shuttled city funding for elementary schools from Lahug to friendly barangays. Innocent kids were caught in the crossfire. Mary Ann didn’t buckle.
In 2006, Osmeña tried to smudge borders and shift built up areas away from Lahug to four neighboring barangays. This would gut the tax base of Mary Ann de los Santos’s area. By “happenstance, the BOPK partisans head the four barangays who’d have plum areas dumped on their laps.”
Retained taxes give substance to local autonomy in barangays, Asian Development Bank notes in its study, “Decentralization in the Philippines.” “Dismemberment would gut the tax base of Lahug,” Inquirer added. “The method in this madness is crude. But lack of finesse is not a felony…The last thing we need is tampering with tax systems because, as Justice John Marshall said, ‘The power to tax is the power to destroy.’”
Osmeña’s greatest challenge is govern beyond satraps like Ralota and Pe. He needs to attract allegiance of free minds and support that comes from reasoned policies. Smashing dissent always fails.
Thinking citizens are not serfs or doormats. In Mary Ann de los Santos’s pithy summation: Dili man mi intawon sa-op nino Dong.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 07, 2012.