THE “former political has-been” disputed the accusation of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino that he is a “bully,” anti-business and anti-poor. He said he is not anti-business and anti-poor but is anti-tax evasion, anti-crime and against corruption. Does this person have the moral ascendancy to talk about being anti-corruption?

Who was he before he was elected mayor in the late ‘80s? He reportedly sold kitchen utensils in the US. When he and his family returned here, he only brought a bag of clothes. Former councilor Gabby Leyson took care of him. After he became a mayor, he was listed by a financial magazine as one of the richest mayors in the country.

Isn’t it corruption when you receive two expensive cars from a private company and keep these for personal use? Those cars eventually landed in the hands of his relatives who claimed they bought these. He was cleared by the anti-graft office of criminal and administrative liabilities, though.

Meanwhile, Michael Rama, who was then the acting mayor, signed the contract between City Hall and SM Prime Holdings Inc. for the purchase of the South Road Properties (SRP) lots where SM Seaside City Mall is now. The “former political has-been’ was on leave at that time as he was scheduled to be operated on for his urinary bladder cancer in Houston, Texas.

But he asked his doctors to postpone the operation as he wanted to return here and stayed for only two days. I don’t know if it was just coincidence that SM Prime Holdings paid their obligation to the city at that time. What was his intention in coming back here when he was suffering from a very serious ailment?

Okay, he conceptualized the multi-billion-peso SRP and credit should go to him. But who made money from the project paid for by the taxpayers of Cebu? I know that some people became millionaires because of the SRP project.

Consider this. How many cubic meters or dump trucks of limestone or anapog were dumped there? Imagine if somebody demanded even just P10 share for every cubic meter or dump truck from the anapog suppliers and haulers. And now, this person is talking about battling corruption?

If he is the one negotiating for the sale of SRP lots, he would claim that no anomaly is committed. But if another party, like “has-been” mayor Mike Rama, does it, he would consider it anomalous.

But look. When he disposed of SRP lots to SM and Filinvest, it was done through negotiated sale with a price of P9,000 per square meter and the city government paid the capital gains tax. Under Rama, the sale was done through public bidding with a floor price of P38,000 per square meter and the buyers paid the capital gains tax.

Which deal is more susceptible to corruption, one that is done through a public bidding or one done through negotiated sale? Patuo-tuo nga anti-corruption. Alis dyan!