VICE Mayor Michael Rama has insisted that his resignation as chairman of the board of the Sinulog Foundation, Inc. so it can get financial help from the Cebu City Government is the last resort.
He should be told, however, that a good number of Cebuanos feel he should have resigned last year yet.
Rama voiced his stand about the resignation issue after Mayor Tomas Osmeña himself admitted that the vice mayor may have to quit if financial aid were to flow to this year’s Sinulog festivity.
Commission on Audit (COA) Circular 2007-001 bars local governments from giving financial help to any non-government organization whose incorporator, director, organizer or officer is related to any local official involved in the approval or release of government funds.
When the circular was issued, city officials led by Rama whined, then ranted and finally sought an exemption that Rama hoped would be favorable to him.
COA will reportedly address the matter again today.
But Rama’s insistence on staying even if the issue has dragged on could make one consider these two points: that he believes that the Foundation and the Sinulog festivities will crumble without him or that he is after the post for the free publicity it provides.
Or it could be both.
While the Sinulog is the biggest annual event of the city and the Foundation chairman stands at the center of the activities, it has been proven that its chairman can be replaced without a dent on the handling of the festivities.
But it is precisely because the chairman stands at the center of Sinulog activities that the position has been held, or has been coveted, by politicians.
The truth is, the Foundation can even run smoothly with a representative of the private sector at its helm but City Hall officials have ensured for the past years that one of them will keep the post.
Had Rama resigned without much fuss after it became apparent that COA will stick to the policy, he would have been perceived as an official willing to sacrifice personal interest for the common good.
But he didn’t, and that speaks volumes of his person and his values as a public official, whether COA grants the exemption request or not.