Editorial: Not just the mayor

THAT Asian Energy Systems Corp., which operates the private landfill in Consolacion town, sued Mayor Tomas Osmeña in his capacity as head of the Cebu City Government, is not totally unexpected. When you refuse to pay what somebody considers your obligation, that somebody will hail you to court.

The city government, with Michael Rama as mayor, dumped its collected garbage in Consolacion starting in 2011 after the then mayor decided to close the dumpsite in Inayawan. But Rama lost to Osmeña in 2016 and that was the start of Asian Energy Systems’ woes.

Osmeña reopened the Inayawan dumpsite then started criticizing Rama’s use of the landfill in Consolacion preparatory to his eventual refusal to dump part of the city’s collected trash in Consolacion and to pay for Asian Energy Systems’ services. The firm now claims the City owes it some P32 million.

In a way, going to court is good because it would help resolve some of the issues Osmeña hurled, like his continued insistence that Rama’s use of the private landfill in Consolacion was irregular. “There was no bidding, no contract. It’s a fraudulent claim,” the mayor told SunStar Cebu through text message in reaction to Asian Energy Systems’ suit. Only the court can say if that is true.

But cases like this take time to resolve while mayors serve a term that lasts for only three years before they subject themselves to another uncertainty called the elections. For all we know, Osmeña will no longer be mayor when the court resolves the case with finality. What if the city government is ordered to pay Asian Energy Systems?

This is probably why Osmeña is fond of challenging firms he is not fond of to go to court if they are aggrieved by his moves. His going against Banco de Oro, which is part of the SM group, his pet peeve, has earned him and the City another suit. SM itself has sued the City for its actions against its mall at the South Road Properties.

It is not the mayor who will go through the hassles of long-drawn litigation and its result but the city government and, by extension, its constituents.
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