GEORGIA Osmeña has all the right to complain about the refusal by top Cebu City Hall officials to give her a VIP pass for last Sunday’s Sinulog grand parade.
When you have been given tickets to the grandstand for years and then deprived of such a privilege after you run in an election against the activity’s top gun, you feel you have been singled out and naturally are enraged.
More so because Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who is running for Congress, and Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who is running for mayor, have hypocritically been warning other candidates in the May elections not to engage in politicking in the Sinulog festivity.
But Georgia should be thankful that Rama did not give her a VIP pass because if he did the mayor could still have ordered blue guards to escort her out of the VIP area.
Which was what happened in the grand parade last year to Jonah John Rodriguez, former private secretary of ex-mayor Alvin Garcia and who was once subject of a court case filed by the mayor’s wife Margot.
But then Rodriguez is neither a “VIP” nor an Osmeña, although it is always objectionable to subject a person, whatever his status in life is, to embarrassment.
Still, Georgia’s experience only reiterated the problem of putting such a major religious-cultural activity of the city in the hands of politicians despite earlier attempts to de-politicize it by creating a “private” foundation to handle the festivity.
Another example: Had the public not criticized it, the float of the City Government publicizing the South Road Properties (SRP) would have had displayed employees wearing “Suya Ra ang Probinsya” t-shirts, taunting Capitol.
Interestingly, it wasn’t the Sinulog Foundation that prevented the City Government from going ahead with the “Suya Ra ang Probinsya” plan in much the same way that it wasn’t the foundation that refused to give VIP pass to Georgia.
The point is that whatever policy the Sinulog Foundation will lay down, like the “no politicking” rule, always loses its power once City Hall and the mayor contradict it or refuses to adhere to it.
This is what makes the Sinulog setup now in place farcical.