Thursday, August 05, 2021

Editorial: Mayor’s ‘sue me’ dare

THIS seems to have become a habit for Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña. When criticized for his driving away some of the students living in the city-owned condominium in Barangay Sambag 1, he challenged the poor students to sue him. Osmeña has required the students to get an endorsement from his representatives in each barangay so they can stay at the condo.

“They don't want to get it (endorsement), so they are not going back. Let them file a case against me,” Osmeña told reporters.

Cebu City owes P32 million to the operator of a landfill in Consolacion town as tipping fee for dumping its garbage there during the administration of former mayor Michael Rama, Osmeña's bitter rival. But Osmeña refused to pay the operator, Asian Energy Systems Corp. because no contract was signed for the transaction.

“You file a case against me, that's okay,” was the mayor's message to the landfill operator. “If it goes to the Supreme Court and it says pay, then I will pay. The City will pay.”

Ending arguments and daring those one is tangling with to sue can be considered a sign of confidence in the legality of one's position or decision. That does not necessarily mean that the position or decision is morally correct. The dare can be considered as a sign of arrogance.

Confidence in the legality of one's position or decision does not also mean that the position or decision is legal. That is up for the courts to rule. Thus it is good for the dared to pick up the challenge and sue—that is if that is the only way the position or decision could be changed.

And while Osmeña has not dared the Cebu City Council to sue on the messy distribution of financial aid for senior citizens, it is good that the council has referred the matter to the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas. Confusion arose in the distribution because of the use by Osmeña of his people instead of barangay officials who are not politically aligned with him.

It's not only in the distribution of financial assistance for senior citizens that a confusing setup has been put in place by Osmeña. The undercutting of the functions of barangay officials is questionable. Going to court can, therefore, be justified.
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