Editorial: Refuting the ‘Osmeña way’

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


FORMER Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña was once considered the sole authority when it comes to South Road Properties (SRP) concerns. There were two reasons for that: the SRP was his “baby” and he was the mayor. Nobody among his subalterns dared question the way SRP was managed.

Times have changed like they always do. It has been more than four years since he last sat in the city mayor’s chair (he was congressman four three years and lost in last year’s elections), and the Osmeña way is fast losing fully its appeal.

The latest setback is the Cebu City Council passing a resolution allowing Mayor Michael Rama to sell SRP lots. That was the result of four Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) councilors working with their Team Rama-aligned colleagues to get a slim majority to pass the measure.

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For the first time since Rama took over as city mayor, the city council passed a measure that contradicted Osmeña’s diktat for the SRP. And the latter’s reaction was that of grudging acceptance.

Consider what he said in the most recent press con he called. The BOPK can block the sale of the SRP lots, he said, but he wants the public to discuss the matter first. We can already predict what Osmeña’s critics would ask: Since when has he sought consensus before making decisions?

Interestingly, Osmeña’s idea of blocking the sale of SRP lots seems to be one that can be done only outside the city council. His putting a distinction between a resolution and an ordinance is one that can only be resolved by the courts. Meaning that, he seems resigned to losing the BOPK majority in the city council.

But even his arguments are no longer taken as gospel where the SRP is concerned. This is because he does not have the platform from which the words he spews come out already wrapped with authority. That platform is now occupied by Rama. With Team Rama’s refutation of Osmeña’s views about the sale of SRP lots and how this should be done, the discussion is no longer one-sided.

Not that the emerging political setup is bad, especially in mapping out SRP’s future.

A less domineering Osmeña and a city council with a weakened BOPK hold may be good in that Rama’s policies can still be subjected to intense scrutiny but without the paralysis that often happens when an opposition group has total control of a legislative body.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 21, 2014.

Opinion

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