THE line has been drawn, and President Rodrigo Duterte let go of the first jab. It is still months away from next year’s mid-term elections but most of the prospective candidates for positions in the local government units are wanting to get his endorsement, if not, his daughter, Sara.
What could have caused the president to go ballistic on Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña?
It is no secret that there is animosity between the president’s point man in the Visayas, Michael Lloyd Dino, and Osmeña. It would not be a surprise if Dino was the source of information that caused Duterte to go ballistic.
Those opposed to Osmeña must have cheered, hoping that the president’s accusations will bring about the downfall of their nemesis in City Hall. But instead of fighting fire with fire, Osmeña took the position of the underdog, saying: “If I have to be the bad guy for mentioning that there is a problem, so be it. No problem, this is what I signed up for.”
The timing of the presidential attack is suspicious. It comes in the wake of the announcement that former mayor Michael Rama agreed to run as vice mayor with Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella running for mayor. The latter even bragged that the president promised to personally campaign for him.
But why get the president to be involved in Cebu City politics? Are they not confident enough to beat Osmena? Do they have to get a godfather to champion for them?
This early, I must say that Labella will have his hands full against Osmeña, whose political stock has remained strong as ever. It must be recalled that Alvin Garcia and Michael Rama, who clashed with Osmeña in past mayoral elections, began their political careers as protegees of the latter. Labella is once an Osmeña ally.
While Duterte is correct that Tomas depended on the illustrious names of Sergio Osmeña Sr. and Serging Osmeña to jumpstart his plan to take over the Cebu City Hall, still you must credit him for his staying power. It is also true, as the president claims, that Osmeña is suffering from “hubris,” but that is what makes Tomas what he is. Love him or hate him, Tomas has made Cebu politics livelier through the years.
Sadly, it is Cebu City politics that has become an irritant to the unstoppable growth of what is becoming a mega-metropolis. Industrialists, businessmen and investors are pouring money into the economy even with conflicted politics at City Hall.
And getting the president involved in Cebu City politics surely does not make things any better.