Briones: An exercise in futility

On The Go

I have to give it to Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

The guy has chutzpah.

He seems confident enough to win next month’s mayoral election against Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, yet he refuses to rest on his laurels.

But although he has fired several potshots at his opponent, the latter refuses to play.

So there has been no exchange of interesting quips between the two. Not yet, anyway. Nothing to add fuel to what appears to be dying embers that may pique the constituents’ morbid curiosity.

Actually, it has been quite boring.

Because admit it, it’s no fun when you’re playing alone. Unless, of course, you’re Jim Paredes. Not that I would know. I wasn’t and I’m not particularly interested in his “scandal.”

Really. No. Really.

But hey, going up against Labella is like entering an elevator and going several floors up while listening to Muzak. You can rant and rave all you want, but then you end up humming the tune of Percy Faith’s “Theme from a Summer Place.”

So what do you do? What did Osmeña do?

Well, the mayor lashed out at the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO). Again.

I mean, he did just call CCPO Director Royina Garma the worst police official to head the city police in his 30 years or so in public office.

And if he is to be believed, the CCPO has been colluding with his opponents’ camp to harass supporters of the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan.

According to Osmeña, police summoned two barangay captains and told them to report to Labella’s office where they were allegedly told to switch sides. Police also allegedly confiscated the motorcycles of habal-habal drivers in the mountain barangays without even issuing a temporary operator’s permit or a violation sheet and then told the drivers to—let’s repeat the chorus, everyone—go to Labella’s office.

Of course, the mayor said he has evidence to prove his claims. Pictures and video footage, he said.

“General (Oscar) Albayalde,” in a message Osmeña directed to the PNP chief who was in town for a visit and a photo-op, I mean, to present the alleged killer of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan, “according to your police in Cebu, it is okay for people to break the law as long as Labella endorses.”

Hmm. I haven’t heard that one before.

“The police in Cebu are being used in a final desperate attempt to support a losing candidate. You ultimately have command responsibility of all the police in Cebu. What are you going to do about this, General?” the mayor continued.

Well, nothing, apparently. When Albayalde was told about the allegations, he was totally dismissive.

“Sometimes, ‘yung iba sa atin (some of us), we act like a child. Nasa atin ‘yun, eh (It’s up to us). That’s their personality. We have to live with that,” the police official said.


Osmeña also issued a directive to the CCPO, ordering its members not to wear masks during operations.

Of course, as chief executive, the mayor was within his rights to do so. But, as Albayalde pointed out, it didn’t mean they would heed the former.

The mayor can rant as much as he wants against the police, but it’s quite apparent that this is one contest he will not win.


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