CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has claimed some people are out to put a wedge between him and President Rodrigo Duterte. The mayor, who is active on social media, has alleged that a Facebook page linked him to an alleged plot to oust the president and had his accomplishments compared with those of Duterte.
“All I can say is that I’m scared but I will fight back. I don’t like to be a martyr. Sport lang,” he said.
The more serious propaganda job is the one that insinuated that Osmeña joined Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in South Korea last week for a meeting to plot the president’s ouster. Robredo and Trillanes, both critics of the Duterte administration were in South Korea for the Lenten break. Osmeña said he was also in South Korea to conduct a field study on the Seoul bus rapid transit.
In his Facebook account, the mayor pointed to Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino, whom he called “Michael Dino Rama” as being behind the black propaganda against him. He apparently believes Dino owns or is behind the Facebook account “Bisaya Na Pud,” whose posts are critical of him.
During his visit for the groundbreaking ceremony for the third Mactan-Mandaue bridge, officially called the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, the president joked about the Dino-Osmeña rift, asking his assistant if he and Osmeña were friends. Unfortunately, the rift seems to have gotten beyond the joking level. It has affected governance and the smooth implementation of projects.
Admittedly, the root of the Dino-Osmeña rift is deep and began years before Duterte became president. It worsened when Duterte appointed Dino presidential assistant and the group identified with former mayor Michael Rama, Osmeña’s bitter rival, sidled close to him. Interestingly, both Dino and Osmeña both have an online presence, meaning they are capable of maligning each other on social media.
But imagine if the script is flipped and both Dino and Osmeña are instead one in pushing Cebu’s development forward. Which brings us to our point: Why won’t the president find ways to force the two proud personalities to work together?
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on April 22, 2017.
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