CEBU City Hall officials have denied allegations made in a Facebook post that Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama lied about being the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award, which was the reason given for his departure for the United States last week.
A post on the “Cebu Updates” Facebook page on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023, said Rama’s official visit to the US to receive the award was a “big lie” since his name was not on the official list of awardees in the American Excellence Awards website, and that instead, the speculation was that the real reason for his trip was to obtain medical treatment in a well-known hospital for cancer.
The words “Anne Legazpi, August 20, 2023” were written at the end of the post, implying that Legazpi was the writer of the post.
Rama left for Los Angeles, California on Aug. 15, and was expected to receive the award on Aug. 20, as reported by the Cebu City News and Information Facebook page, the official Facebook page of the Cebu City Public Information Office (PIO).
Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell told SunStar Cebu on Monday, Aug. 21, that news or information posted in Cebu Updates is unverified and not factual.
“Kon kana atong basihan ba, wa man juy tinuod nga naa diha. Sukad pa na sa una,” Rosell said. (If that’s our basis, there is no truth there [in Cebu Updates]. It has been that way since before).
Rosell emphasized that if Cebu Updates is genuine in its work, then it should make an appearance like any other media outlet.
“Magpaila sila nga sila ang Cebu Updates,” Rosell added. (They should introduce themselves as Cebu Updates).
He argued that the award Rama was set to receive could be verified from the official website of the America Excellence Awards.
Rosell said it would be unlikely for someone like Rama, who has been in politics for over 30 years, to lie about his achievements.
Hospital for cancer
The Cebu Updates post claimed there is speculation that the real reason for Rama’s visit to the United States was to receive treatment at a well-known hospital for cancer.
“Mao nga migawas ang spekulasyon nga ang tinuod nga rason sa pagbyahe ni Mike Rama sa US kay ang pagpatambal sa iyang gihambin nga balatian sa usa ka iladong cancer hospital sa US,” the post read.
The Facebook post added: “May sakit o wala, seryos o dili, dapat ipahibalo ni Mayor Rama sa mga Cebuanos nga nagpili kaniya ang tinuod niyang Health Condition.”
(Whether he is sick or not, whether it is severe or not, the mayor should let the Cebuanos who voted for him know about his actual health condition.)
Rosell reiterated that everything written in Cebu Updates has no basis in reality.
“Mahibulong sad ta nganong concerned kaayo sila nga magpatambal si Mayor Mike,” Rosell said.
(We also wonder why they are so concerned about Mayor Mike seeking medical treatment.)
Rosell said seeking treatment should never be an issue, emphasizing that every person has the right to health.
“Magpatambal man gani ang akong iro, and it’s never an issue,” Rosell explained. (My dog even gets treatment, and it’s never an issue.)
The America Excellence Awards, based in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, is an awarding body that recognizes individuals or organizations that have displayed outstanding achievement in business, leadership or innovation.
According to its official website, America Excellence Awards is a prestigious awards organization dedicated to celebrating excellence and promoting best practices in various industries.
This year, the awarding body is honoring 20 individuals and institutions from different fields. Among those being recognized are Jay Lan Manalo, who is receiving the Best Actor of this Generation award; and Rey PJ Abellana and Marawi City Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra, both of whom are being presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
As of Monday afternoon, Philippine time, the website had not posted the name of Rama as one of the awardees for the Lifetime Achievement Award.
However, Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia confirmed to SunStar Cebu on Monday that Rama did indeed receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, as indicated by the photos he came across circulating on social media.
Photos from the Facebook page of Cinbeth Enriquez-Orellano of the Cebu City Tourism Commission show Rama and his wife Malou holding a plaque and a trophy, with the caption indicating that they are at the 1st America Excellence Awards at Celebrity Center, Hollywood, USA.
Garcia said Rama’s official leave of absence began on Aug. 15 and will continue until Aug. 30, 2023.
Last month, Rosell threatened to file charges against the administrators of the “Cebu Updates” Facebook page for cyberlibel and usurpation of property.
Posts on the page have been critical of the Cebu City Government under Rama, with the people behind the page yet to be identified.