Editorial: Margot sued

FORTY-SEVEN barangay captains are finally going after Cebu City Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña for an act done when she was acting mayor following the suspension by the Office of the President of almost all of the city’s elective officials in May and June last year. Osmeña had filed administrative and criminal complaints against the village chiefs after they initially refused to return the vehicles issued to them by the city government when Michael Rama was mayor.

The administrative and criminal complaints included carnapping, malversation of public property and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. In August this year, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed those charges for lack of evidence, paving the way for the barangay captains to counter-sue Osmeña for, among others, malicious prosecution, oppression and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of justice.

The move can be described as giving Osmeña a dose of her own medicine. This, though, is not limited to her because her husband, Mayor Tomas Osmeña, is also facing cases filed either with the ombudsman or the Office of the President. The mayor, before he defeated Rama in last year’s elections, was also in the habit of filing or inspired the filing of cases against Rama and other city officials. Either those cases would hurt the mayor legally and politically, or they wouldn’t.

What is clear, though, is that the machinery that supported Rama in last year’s polls has largely remained intact a little more than a year before the next elections. Forty-seven barangay captains out of 80 village chiefs in the city is a big number—and that only refers to those who filed the case against Margot. While Osmeña still defeated Rama even with that machinery supporting the latter, the win can be considered an aberration in a contest largely won by Rama’s group.

The usual strategy of winners is to win over to his or her side remnants of the political organization he or she defeated. Politics, in the traditional sense, is after all addition, not subtraction. That Osmeña seems to be alienating Rama leaders instead of winning them over to his side shows he is not a politician in a traditional sense. Or is he just being arrogant?
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