Four councilors should stop playing coy

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


AS EXPECTED, the four Cebu City BOPK councilors who sided with Mayor Michael Rama on the South Road Properties (SRP) issue resigned from the party. Their unofficial leader, Gerry Carillo, said that they have decided to form an independent bloc and will be guided only by their conscience.

That’s for now. It will be a different story tomorrow or next month or next year or the year thereafter. Sooner than later, they will seek shelter under another political umbrella and the only one that could provide it is Team Rama.

Gerry Carillo, Noel Wenceslao, Bobby Cabarrubias and Ritchie Osmeña should stop playing coy about their political plans. Everyone knows that an alliance with Rama is a done deal. The only thing lacking is a formal announcement.

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But insofar as intentions are concerned, the four made it loud and clear when they voted for the resolution that basically says the mayor can now go full speed ahead and sell the SRP. That was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Gerry Carillo and company calculated the costs and liked what they saw.

The resolution itself actually does not amount to anything other than express the sense of the council. Transacting business in behalf of the city is a power that is vested in the mayor by the Local Government Code, among other laws. The city council has no blanket power to preempt the mayor from exercising his authority. It can only deny or grant its consent to a particular transaction and at the appropriate time.

Viewed in this light, one can see that what Gerry and company did was to throw down the gauntlet at Osmeña. “We’re going against your wishes. Do what you want to do.” But they did not give Osmeña a chance to fire them from the BOPK. They resigned.

What triggered the mutiny? Initially, Gerry and his group denied that they were rebelling but we’re in fact only acting in the best interests of the city. Vice Mayor Edgar Labella, who’s with Team Rama, tried to give credence to the claim by saying that his colleagues from the opposite camp were honorable people who, sooner or later, would decide to cast aside all partisan considerations and dedicate themselves to what is good for the city and its people.

The trouble with this theory of rediscovery of conscience is that it conveniently glosses over the fact that the four are politicians who worry about their future at the same time that they think of the public interest. This is no knock on Gerry and his friends but all politicians are like that. It is what it is.

Yesterday, we caught a glimpse of what caused the spark when Gerry admitted for the first time that Tommy’s actions in relation to the administrative charges filed against them, among others, by lawyer Reymelio Delute hurt them. They had expected Tommy, as their political leader, to restrain Delute from filing the complaint and, failing that, to reassure them that he had their backs covered.

When instead Osmeña told them that they were just “collateral damage,” Carillo and company were ready for the picking.

Team Rama of course denies that they had a hand in the breakaway of Gerry and company from the BOPK. Nobody convinced them to do what they did, Labella declared. Former Councilor Joey Daluz, who is now a consultant at City Hall, hewed a little more closely to the truth.

“We did talk to them,” he admitted during an interview on Frankahay Ta (DYCM, 1152 AM, 7 to 8 a.m.) Tuesday morning. “But we talk to all the others, too,” he clarified, on whether they could find a common position on matters that are close to the heart of the administration.

One of these issues must have been the SRP. Now that Team Rama and the newly minted “independent bloc” have agreed on at least one major issue, will it be long before they’d be drinking from the same political glass?

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)

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

Opinion

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