Where are the SRP lot buyers?-A A +A
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
LET ME say this again at the risk of being repetitive: George Baladjay would have been a good mayor. In fact, he could have been Cebu City’s best mayor. But the gods were against him and he lost a fraudulently conducted election at the height of martial law.
George is now based in the U.S. with his family, but his heart has never left Cebu. Back in the States after a brief visit here a couple of months ago, he is still thinking about this city’s drainage system and how to improve it “before Manila’s deplorable situation during the rainy days is replicated in Cebu City.”
“I can almost guess that the City Council will not go with Mike (Mayor Rama) if he proposes the project. But he should insist and dramatize the obstructionism of the
council,” George said in an e-mail yesterday.
I hope not, George. Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña has repeatedly declared that the BOPK councilors who make up the majority in the city’s legislature will not oppose Rama’s initiatives if they’re good for Cebu and provided that the necessary processes are followed. I have no reason to doubt her sincerity.
Rama has proposed to sell portions of the South Road Properties (SRP) to fund the establishment of a decent drainage system. That was more than three months ago, if I remember correctly.
I do not know if he has already found a buyer. To date, he has not yet sought authority from the city council to execute a deed of sale for any of the SRP lots.
There is an existing ordinance that prohibits him from even negotiating with prospective buyers but the mayor, being a lawyer, knows that it is infirm.
As his vice mayor, Edgar Labella, has pointed out, the ordinance encroaches on executive prerogative. Rama can and should treat the measure as if it does not exist and negotiate with prospective buyers.
The city council can, of course, make things easier by recalling the ordinance. That
would also save a lot of faces from turning red once it is challenged in court. The authors can always explain that the measure was merely an expression of the collective sense of the council based on the conditions existing at the time it was passed and that the conditions have since changed.
But if they will not do that – and the likelihood is that they won’t – the mayor should not act as if his hands are bound unless he is looking for an opportunity to make the majority councilors look bad when the floods come and the bodies start floating. Rama has warned against that possibility but he has the power not to make it happen.
Go find that buyer or buyers now, Mayor, and then ask the council to authorize you to sign the deed of sale. If they withhold it, we will know in whose hands the blood is when the waters come in torrents and destroy everything that stands in their way. You can trust that the people will know how to punish them.
Did 80 Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) soldiers surrender to the authorities last week? Rappler, which was the only news outfit that carried the story, insists that the surrender did take place and has not taken the report, along with an editorial deploring the supposed delay in the processing of the surrender, off their website.
But where are the MNLF men who supposedly gave up?
The Rappler story on the surrender is one of two baffling reports to have come out of the Zamboanga crisis, the other being the announcement from the office of Vice President Jejomar Binay Friday night last week that the government and the MNLF have agreed to a ceasefire. But what ceasefire?
Hardly had the ink dried on Binay’s announcement than the government forces and the Muslim rebels started shooting each other.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 18, 2013.