Bzzzzz: Conflicting signals on Cebu City situation. Barangay councilor curses city mayor 13 times in FB post.

(From left) DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III and Mayor's Information & Liaison Office chief Yody Sanchez. (Photos from Facebook pages of Cebu City PIO, Presidential Communications and Yody Sanchez)

Cimatu says; Duque says

LAST Monday, July 6, Roy Cimatu, the President's Covid-19 overseer in Cebu, said he saw the downgrading of Cebu City from ECQ to GCQ after July 15. As the highest official on the ground, Cimatu was expected to know the actual situation: the numbers on doubling time and critical care utilization rate, deaths and recoveries.

Wednesday morning, July 8, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during the President's briefing that the quick case doubling time in Cebu City is too short, at less than seven days. Return to general quarantine from enhanced quarantine would be risky, he said.

But wait. Cimatu frames it within the July 1-15 period. And Duque must mean as of that day, Wednesday, with the 15th still some seven days away. Conditions could improve.

To a public that doesn't have the patience to parse statements of high officials for hidden meaning and intent, Cimatu and Duque were giving conflicting signals in less than 48 hours.

Cebuanos cannot rely yet on the local system of reporting, which is now limited to one source, the DOH regional office tracking unit. City Hall's reporting has been shut down by IATF. And changes to improve the reporting system of DOH have not been announced yet. People don't know which report on the critical care situation -- whether our hospitals are already coping, or still being deluged, with coronavirus cases -- can be believed.

What's the situation? High officials may know but they're not telling the same story to the public.

Blaming the mayor

A barangay councilor from Talamban, Cebu City posted on Facebook a complaint against the mayor, which:

[1] Blamed him for the death of relatives and acquaintances ("kaliwat ug kaila") from Covid-19;

[2] Called him a liar for not delivering on his alleged promise to give each household a quarantine pass and 25 kilos of rice ("asa na man?");

[3] Scoffed at the mayor's explanation for the "rotten rice" ("tibogol ug baho") he doled out and his alleged advice just to have the cereal grains thoroughly washed;

[4] Criticized Cebu City's Noah isolation center, alleging that patients from Talamban preferred the barangay facility because they would die at Noah.

If the councilor can support his allegations, they are valid complaints that he can file even with the ombudsman or the Office of the President. He can also air them in public, as he did -- bur not with the heap of curses that he threw into his Facebook post.

Expletives: count 'em

By Bzzzzz's count, the Talamban councilor cursed at or derided the mayor with these words:

[1] "pagkayawa"/"mga kauban nga yawa"/"yawaaa ka" (thrice);

[2] "inataya" (thrice);

[3] "amaw ka" (twice);

[4] "pisteha ka" (twice);

[5] "(labaw ka) bogo" (once);

[6] "Mr. Wig"/"hugaw nga wig" (twice).

Did you count 13 bad, even dirty words?

The tone of the post was set with the opening line, "Hoooy... Mr Wig. Gikapoy na kaayo mi diri sa ubos ha."

Libelous? Maybe, maybe not. But the behavior will hardly qualify under the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act #6713 of 1989). A public official is required by law and plain good manners and right conduct (GMRC) to show respect to others, including fellow officials in government.

Criticism or dissent can still be publicly expressed minus the expletives. Or did the barangay councilor think that his Facebook post was private?

Sanchez's defense

How did the hateful post circulate further? Former barangay captain, now Milo (Mayor's Information & Liaison Office) chief Yody Sanchez, a Partido Barug stalwart, re-posted it with his defense of his party's titular chief, the mayor being the holder of the highest elective office in the city.

Sanchez noted that during the term of BOPK's Tomas Osmeña (2016-2019), barangay captains belonging to Barug "were called thieves by Tomas for allegedly stealing millions of aid from City Hall."

Yet the Barug barangay captains, Sanchez said, kept their respect for the mayor at the time. They didn't curse Tomas (at least not publicly) because that respect is expected of each elected official, Sanchez said. The behavior of the Talamban and BOPK councilor reflected on the kind of persons in his group and the barangay council to which the council member belongs, Sanchez said.


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