MICHAEL Rama is the leader of Team Rama that won most of the seats, including the vice mayor’s post, in the Cebu City 2016 election. But Rama himself lost, a puzzlement he might never unravel or the rest of his life.
Out of City Hall, Mike wields no power and not much resources to mend party fences. His archenemy Mayor Tomas Osmena, whom he beat in 2013 but who trounced him in the last election, has been pounding on Rama’s political base with a sledgehammer.
President Duterte shamed him twice on national television. No evidence, no charges. No brand on his forehead or cardboard on his neck saying he’s a druggie or a drug lord coddler but there might as well be.
Councilor Nendell Hanz Abella last week resigned as oouncilor to accept the more stable government work as commissioner of National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). Who’re they going to call as Hanz replacement?
A nominee of UNA under which Hanz, as well as all other Team Rama bets ran and won in 2016. Presumably, UNA will respect the local party’s wish and will nominate Team Rama’s choice.
Initially, it was either one of the two council wannabes, both from UNA/Team Rama, Junjun Osmea and Lotlot Ignacio-Son. Then, all of a sudden, Mike himself now looms as the shoo-in.
Former mayor Mike could say that after having served as mayor for two terms, it would be a demotion for him to return to the City Council where he started his political career. What’s wrong with that? Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after his stint as president became a House member, one of almost 300. Mike would be one of just 17 councilors.
Or Mike could be gracious. Let newcomers Junjun or Lotlot have a chance in public service. Yet they’re not as desperate, politically, as Mike is. Besides, Mike would be a more effective fiscalizer, or annoying obstructionist, than any other substitute.
Mike can use what clout he still has over Team Rama and his ties with Binay, whom he refused to abandon in 2016.
The monstrous risk is this: the likelihood of being refused the appointment.
Under the law, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, for the president, signs the order. Medialdea must appoint a member of the party (UNA) under which Abella ran and won. Ministerial task. But the president, through Medialdea, might reject Rama and ask for another name because he’d be contradicting values: how could he condemn Rama in his “narco” list but declare him fit for high office? Unless, Duterte would say he was wrong and Mike was squeaky-clean all along.
Rama might eventually prevail in a court litigation (against Medialdea, not lawsuit-immune Duterte). But the controversy could be a third national shaming. Which would make people think the accusation is true unless the president is just exceedingly mad at Rama.
Unless someone close to Duterte could help. Would that be the Presidential Asst. for the Visayas Michael Dino? Unless Rama would be fairly sure of Duterte’s nod, the former mayor could stick to going the rounds of his leaders in the barangays. Take shelter for now, until the storm passes.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 18, 2017.
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