CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has for some time now shed off an image of meekness and submissiveness to the bullying by his political nemesis Tomas Osme¤a, ex-mayor and ex-congressman.
That started when Mayor Mike won in 2010. Mike’s self-confidence shot up further when he was reelected in 2013, keeping the mayor’s seat on his own force, with his former “mentor and tormentor” as the man he sent down crawling on the canvas. That, as he mended Team Rama fences and strengthened his political base.
Tomas, in contrast, has diminished his arrogance, a bit chastened by election results that rejected him even as he has scrambled to guard BOPK against defections and desertions.
As the doubter, Tomas (the politician, not the apostle) regularly pesters Mike with criticism that the mayor is a poor manager of city finances. By himself and through BOPK minions in the City Council, Tomas steadily pounded on the message: he doubts the soundness of the city’s fiscal health.
Mayor Mike, hitting back, calls his detractors obstructionists (“mga babagero”) or dismisses them as unfit to meddle (“pagmayor una mo”).
Mike’s combative stance is what’s new, brought on, he said, by the death of his cousin, barangay captain George Rama who repeatedly engaged in verbal brawls for the mayor.
There appears to be reversal of roles this time:
Tomas snarls less while Mike rages more.
But would sounding and looking tough and high-and-mighty work for Mike when that stance caused Tomas’s defeat in the last elections?