Congressman Tom’s ‘right to speak out’-A A +A
Thursday, December 16, 2010
REP. Tomas Osmeña has invoked his “constitutional right to speak out” when told by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and former councilor Jocelyn Pesquera to stop criticizing the mayor. The right to speak, Congressman Tom, is actually a human right even. But it looks like you missed the point a bit.
First, the call of Rama and Pesquera does not sound like an order but is more of an appeal or a plea. Meaning, they are not intending to silence you. Rather, they are asking you to “silence yourself.” The key word there is “voluntary.”
Second, and this concerns Rama especially, the objection obviously stems from your being party mates and of you being the leader of the party. Until the mayor is kicked out from the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), it would not be surprising if Rama seeks to be treated like a member by the party’s leader.
Even well-meaning BOPK members seem to be hoping that any differences in opinion between you and Rama on how to run the city would be ironed out in a dialogue. That’s what having a party is actually about.
People are feasting on your running public flogging of Rama precisely because you are the leader of his party. As such, your verbal assault is more destructive to Rama’s mayorship than the rants of the political opposition, which surprisingly has not been critical of him.
In turn, your actions tend to portray a factionalized BOPK, which does not paint a good picture of the organization. It is therefore not only Rama you are hitting but also your own party. In short, the issue is not your “constitutional right to speak out” but your responsibility as leader of the BOPK.
Third, Rama and Pesquera consider your sniping as more of “meddling” and “dictating” than criticism. And many people share that view.
You were elected south district congressman and not city mayor thus you should have focused more on your legislative job instead of dipping your fingers into what is strictly a mayoral concern.
Or is your sniping a way of masking the fact that Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao is taking the job of legislation more seriously than you?
I understand the “noble” intention of City Council Resolution 08-1394, which specifies the South Road Properties (SRP) as the only area where firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices can be sold. The resolution reinforces City Ordinances 62 and 1962 that regulate the sale and display of such items in the city.
But who are city officials fooling? I am asking that because that resolution and those ordinances are not being honored simply because their provisions are impractical. Every Christmas season, authorities conduct raids and seizures, like what they did in the case of Pyroworks Pyrotechnic Perfection. But watch as Christmas and New Year’s Days near.
The meat of that resolution and city ordinances is actually like that provision in our election law that limits the posting of campaign materials only to designated areas. The impossibility of implementing these legal diktats is shown every Christmas and every election.
In previous Christmases, I bought (not at one time, though), piccolos, benggalas and rebentadors in the sidewalks near Fuente Osmeña, often at night. I don’t expect that setup to change this year. So why not review the said resolution and ordinances to make these enforceable?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 17, 2010.