Briones: Cebu’s ‘strongmen’

WHAT’S this?

Somebody’s flexing their muscles.

Somehow, the leadership style of President Rodrigo Duterte has rubbed off on local politicians who belong to the opposition party. Apparently, appearing “strong” and “decisive” is now a la mode.

I know that arrogance and utter disregard for critics are almost synonymous with Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, and that’s okay because that’s who he is, but the recent zeal with which he has handled matters like drinking during the Sinulog Grand Parade, a matter of utmost national importance, reeks of misplaced machismo.

Don’t get me wrong. I did agree with his ban on street parties and the selling of liquor 300 meters on either side of the parade route. Although I knew it wouldn’t be 100 percent successful, at least it minimized incidents associated with drunkenness.

So last Sunday night and in the wee hours of Monday, there were no reported brawls. The raging hormones were tempered by the lack of liquid fuel. There were no minors passed out on streets in a pool of their own vomit because most of them were home by 4 a.m. Or maybe there were, and I just didn’t see them.

But overall, Osmeña’s gambit looked like it worked. And the majority of the public agrees. Or at least, my friends do.

Traffic was bearable, said one. The crowd was manageable, said another.

So maybe it’s not a matter of if the mayor’s vision of child-friendly Sinulog in the future will be fulfilled but when.

Anyway, that’s Osmeña.

But what’s with the transformation of Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing?

I always thought he projected bonhomie because in most of his election posters he was always flashing that infectious smile.

But last Tuesday, it was a different aspect of Quisumbing that the public was exposed to.

The mayor put on hold the application of three establishments’ business permits for allegedly defying his order.

In effect, he was shutting them down after members of the city legal office served a show-cause order to MO2 Restobar, Sentral Bar and Lounge and Club Hatchi. And they will remain close until they can explain why they held events last Saturday without a permit from his office.

“I’m very much insulted that despite the denial of their permit, Sentral still pushed through with its event last Saturday,” he told SunStar Cebu’s Flor M. Gitgano.

Sentral is reportedly owned by his first cousin, which might explain why he took it so personally.

But isn’t that exactly what Duterte has been saying all along? Sometimes, strong-arm tactics are needed to instill discipline among the public.

Which might explain why Osmeña is now going after vehicles that counterflow.
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