IT sounds and looks like a legitimate procedure: taking back vehicles, guns and other equipment issued to public officials purportedly for inventory.

That has been done by the new administration at Cebu City Hall, starting with then acting mayor Margot Osmeña who took over from suspended mayor Mike Rama and continuing with her husband Tomas who began his fresh term last June 30.

Who can quarrel with an inventory, a management tool to keep track of the City’s properties? The problem was that assets taken away from barangay officials and councilors identified with Team Rama were reportedly not returned. Those properties were assigned for public use. So were people not prejudiced by the non-return of the equipment?

Not if they were returned but not to original assignees, who are Ramanians, but to other people, even of lesser rank, who supported BOPK during the elections.

“Inventory” may have taken another meaning in local government -- with color of legality but the smell of crap.

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Rivals’ suspicion

The latest “inventory” pulled out medicines in some barangays, ostensibly for listing and redistribution: not to the villages of origin but other villages that, by coincidence or what, happen to be friendly to the administration.

City hospital officials who’re undertaking the “inventory” insist (1) there’s no confiscation (just a friendly wresting away?) and (2) some villages have more supply than they need while other villages have less or none.

So far, though, Team Rama members merely air suspicions and still have to come up with solid evidence.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s public statements (e.g., “they’re not nice to us, so why do we have to be nice to them”) won’t be enough.

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Medicines ‘on doorsteps’

Tomas’s “Operation Lifelong” aims to distribute maintenance medicines on doorsteps of beneficiaries. His rivals may see that as “Operation Lifelong” for himself -- in public office, until his term limit or that of a long line of successors from BOPK.

Where will that place Mike Rama or any other contender from the opposition?

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