Editorial: City Hall spectacle-A A +A
Saturday, October 27, 2012
THE undeclared war between Mayor Michael Rama and the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK)-controlled city council is fast becoming a spectacle, and the jury is still out on whether their constituents will benefit from it in the end.
In the tit-for-tat re: the hiring of consultants, for example, the protagonists seem to have gotten tired of masking their moves with altruistic claims. They have become more forthright in explaining their retaliatory moves. At least we can no longer cringe at their hypocrisy.
Who fired the first salvo is not clear. But in reports emanating from city hall, the first to catch attention was the BOPK councilors cutting the services of Rama’s consultant, broadcaster Antonio Avila.
Reports later said that in the proposed P6.7 billion budget for the city in 2013 crafted by the Office of the Mayor, the P3.1-million appropriation for the councilors’ consultants has been scrapped. In his regular news conference last Thursday, Rama
clarified that the budget was not scrapped but was merely transferred to his office.
The mayor’s intention was obvious. “Of course, dapat naa na silay authority from me,” he said. Meaning that if the mayor’s move succeeds, the shoe will then be on the other foot: the councilors’ consultants will also be at the mercy of the mayor.
In the meantime, the city council is having a field day targeting Rama’s consultants.
In Wednesday’s session, Edwin Jagmoc, the mayor’s consultant for the Department of Public Services, went home with a sad face after the BOPK councilors also cut his services.
The score sheet now stands 2-0 in the city council’s favor.
As for the city’s annual budget for 2013, the Office of the Mayor is shifting to another strategy after rocking the council with a bloated budget proposal in 2012.
In an election year, the mayor has decided to propose a skin-and-bones budget, one that BOPK councilors will have difficulty in pruning. It also limits the funds that will go to the councilors (the mayor, for example, reduced the P3 million the council proposed for its advertising expenses to only P300,000).
Expect the council’s counter to lack scruples as well. Then again, the city’s voters are merely getting the government that they deserve.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 27, 2012.