WE don’t usually wish anybody ill or wish anybody dead, even if we are angry at him or her. Or at least not openly. An exception can be made during the campaign period in an electoral exercise because that is open season. All values are set aside with winning as the main goal. That is why in past elections in Cebu City, Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s health was an issue as well as that of his rival Michael Rama.

But not many are taking the “wishing” seriously. For one, it is useless because the realization of the wish is beyond the wisher’s control. Then there’s the grip in us of Christian values.

Osmeña was recently admitted in a hospital after experiencing stomach cramps. Because he is the mayor, his constituents were naturally interested in knowing the seriousness of the illness. His wife, City Councilor Margot, eased the worries by noting that the illness was not serious. The mayor also posted on his Facebook page the clarification that what he suffered was “indigestion from bad leftovers.”

The problem was that husband and wife just could not resist lashing at their political opponents, something that does not sound good and exposed their insecurities. Instead of their political rivals wishing the mayor ill, it is him and his wife who are insinuating that the political rivals are wishing the mayor ill and even wishing him dead.

“I’m not dying, despite the wishes of a certain group,” said Osmeña’s post. “They can tell Labella to not get his hopes up.” “Labella” is obviously Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella who, following the rule, would succeed Osmeña if he becomes incapacitated, resigns or dies.

This has become a case of the person who is ill being instead the one making cruel insinuations. Nobody has heard Labella wish ill on the mayor, at least openly, so it is a jump in logic to say “his hopes (were) up” when the report that Osmeña was ill got out. Of course, vice mayors can only succeed the mayor if the latter is unable to do his duties. But that does not mean all vice mayors are so ambitious as to fervently wish the mayor ill.

Or are respect for one’s opponent and political rivalry totally incompatible with each other now?