If the President of the country is out of the public eye, like he cannot be seen on television or in physical appearances in presidential events, people will speculate that he is seriously ill. The opposition and his critics will quickly demand that the President should appear live on TV or release a photo of him holding the recent issue of the newspaper. That is how people are judgmental.
Section 12, Article 7 (Executive Department) of the 1987 Constitution states: “In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The members of the Cabinet in charge of the national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and shall not be denied access to the President during such illness.”
Putting it in the local setting, some Cebuanos are demanding from Mayor Edgardo Labella that he should inform the public about the real state of his health. Two weeks ago, reports, especially on social media, spread like wildfire that the mayor was in a coma. Last week, there were also reports that he was brought again to a hospital in Lapu-Lapu City. I’m afraid that the next fake news would be that Labella is already dead.
Why do some people want him to be incapacitated or dead? Because they want to take over the helm at City Hall? The poor mayor had already revealed to the Cebuanos last week that he was hospitalized because of an ear infection and after being discharged from the hospital, his doctors advised him to take a rest. And because he was not seen at City Hall these past few days, there are, again, speculations that he is suffering from serious illness.
There are also talks that the mayor is suffering from Stage 4 prostate cancer. That I don’t know. Be that as it may, but is his mental faculty affected? I think Labella is still in his right sense because he still faces the media through Zoom. He is not incapacitated and bedridden. There is another person who is suffering from cancer. In fact, he was operated but he is still active. Others said Labella is suffering from Parkinson’s disease. I think this issue was already brought up by his political opponents during the campaign period, especially during the debate. It is not Parkinson’s disease, but only a customary attitude/movements of his hands like that of a city councilors who always nods his head.
If Labella has not been seen at City Hall lately it’s because his doctors advised him not to be exposed in public after his personal household errands were found positive of the coronavirus disease (Covid 19). That is why he works from home. Does the mayor or any top honcho of a private corporation need to be physically present in his office all the time?
I don’t think so. With the advent of new technology, he can manage his office wherever he is and however he pleases. The work of a mayor is 24/7 and not just eight-to-five like an ordinary government worker. There is such a thing as delegation of power. What is the use of appointing a city administrator who takes charge of supervising, monitoring and coordinating the functions and activities of all administrative divisions at City Hall? That is why the city administrator is called the “little mayor.”
And there are department heads to monitor their respective divisions. If the mayor reports to his office, his time will be utilized signing documents and entertaining guests, especially political allies. Labella said he is more productive if he “works from home.” Precisely, because he is not being disturbed by his guests and those people who just want to ask assistance.
And why is Vice Mayor Michael Rama eager to take over Labella’s position? Because he thinks that Labella can no longer effectively function because the hizonner is incapacitated? Oh, come on, Mike? Please wait until you become mayor again. If Rama has the delicadeza he should not have uttered these statements in public: “Mayor Edgardo Colina Labella, please lend me your ears. If you can’t manage the city, you know what to do.”
By saying this, Mike presumed that in the absence of Labella, he would be designated as the acting mayor. Mike, the mayor is still alive and kicking. Why do you want to take over? Just to show to the Cebuanos that you are capable of handling the Covid-19 pandemic? You want to be called the anti-Covid-19 czar? You are too late to be a hero, Mike.
Where were you at the height of the pandemic last year? You hid, Mike. You cordoned your office with iron grills, refused to accept visitors, you seldom reported to your office and conducted your sessions through Zoom. And now that the situation has normalized, you want to come into the picture? Dawat lang ka’g limpyo?