CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama will have at least 26 consultants under his office, but that list does not include his close friend and former city councilor Jocelyn “Joy” Pesquera.

Rama said, though, that no one can stop him if he needs to consult Pesquera on certain matters, or ask her questions over the phone.

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Pesquera, a lawyer, confirmed yesterday she will not be a City Hall consultant. But she requested not to be interviewed regarding the matter, as she was celebrating her birthday.

Among the consultants under the Office of the Mayor are five former city councilors, and some consultants of Rep.

Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district), the former mayor.

“Basta as of now, mao ra na atong mga consultants (For now, these are my

consultants),” Mayor Rama said.

“Wa may makapugong nako ug i-konsulta siya, kanang mangutana ta sa telepono, whom will I be asking? (No one can stop me from consulting her, or asking a question over the phone.) That can be anybody,” he continued.

Before he assumed as mayor last June 30, Rama said that Pesquera would not be heading any City Hall department during his term, but she would remain as a consultant.

In a phone interview last Tuesday, the mayor confirmed Pesquera is not in his list of consultants, saying that it is not his priority at this time.

He said he has yet to name a replacement for Pesquera, who was consultant on budget and finance, local and international relations and special legislative concerns since June 2007.

He said, though, that he will eventually hire additional consultants to take her place and to fill other vacant consultancy positions.

Rama declined to discuss the reasons Pesquera’s consultancy contract will not be renewed, saying he does not want to make an issue out of it.

The mayor also said he would leave it to Pesquera to comment on the matter, as it would not be proper for him to speak in her behalf.

A source said that Pesquera decided not to accept any consultancy contract with the City Government, possibly to avoid controversies that may arise from it.

On several occasions, the former councilor drew the ire of Osmeña for allegedly influencing Rama’s decisions.

Osmeña, at one point, had called her the “mastermind and guiding light” of Rama on the “wrong decisions” he has made.

But Pesquera had said that she never influenced Rama on anything, and that Osmeña has been misinformed about her.

The City Council is scheduled to approve tomorrow the resolutions authorizing the mayor to sign the contract of consultancy services with former city councilors Gerardo Carillo, Procopio Fernandez, Sylvan Jakosalem and Manuel Legaspi Jr.

Carillo will be the mayor’s consultant on disaster management, Fernandez is consultant on cooperatives and livelihood concerns, Jakosalem is consultant on traffic management and peace and order, while Legaspi is consultant on legal and administrative concerns.

All former councilors will receive a monthly honorarium of P18,000, the highest amount a consultant can get.

The City will also renew the P1 consultancy contract of former city mayor and Dr. Florentino Solon as consultant on nutrition, as well as the contract of Frank Japson as consultant on the South Road Properties (SRP) estate management.

Other consultants under the Office of the Mayor are former General Services Office chief Ester Cubero (Local School Board projects and procurement and scholarship program), Dr. Rosalinda Quijada (Local School Board), Gerry Marquez (Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor) and Dionisio Sy (Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission).

For Rama’s media relations group, Antonio Avila will be consultant on broadcast media, Leonardo Chiu as consultant on data-building for the public information office and Cerwin Eviota for media communications.

Rama’s close friends Eugene Elizalde and Paul Hubahib will also be consultant on property management and organizational review, and utilities and corporate relations, respectively.

Romeo Cordova will continue to be the consultant on public safety, chief of security and resident ombudsman for a monthly honorarium of P18,000.