AFTER seemingly getting lost initially under the Duterte administration, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña seems to have regained his bearing in his current tussle with Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino on the appointment of Barangay Ermita officials, after the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas suspended the elected barangay officials led by Barangay Captain Felicisimo Rupinta.
Where before Osmeña acted meek when the National Police Commission (Napolcom) took away his power to supervise the operation of the Cebu City Police Office, now he has dared to launch an offensive against Dino, who has the trust of President Rodrigo Duterte. The offensive was such that Dino had threatened to sue Osmeña for defamation. That didn’t deter Osmeña who also threatened to sue Dino for obstruction of justice.
And it looks like Osmeña will have his way this time, thanks to the inaction by the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG), which implemented the suspension order but failed to appoint a caretaker. That should pave the way for outsiders led by City Councilor Dave Tumulak, an independent who is increasingly being seen as Osmeña’s man, to take control of the barangay.
Dino, a businessman, was apparently unprepared for the assault from a veteran politician like Osmeña. The threat to sue was lame and one that the mayor easily brushed aside. Which begs the question of whether the President is abandoning Dino on this one. And does the inaction by Interior and Local Governments Secretary Ismael Sueno a sign that does not want to tangle with Osmeña?
Osmeña is at his best when he gets his way with national government agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 in the case of the Inayawan dumpsite. As for Ermita, the DILG seems to be giving him much leeway also even if the rule is that the appointment of a caretaker is with the said agency and the President and not with the mayor.
As for Dino, this should be a learning experience for him as far as dealing with politicianss and local government executives with Osmeña’s character is concerned.