CEBU politics has always been the turf of two political parties. In the years following independence, Nacionalistas and Liberals regularly contested the power to govern Cebu City and Province.
Then and now the parties could only be differentiated by the personalities of their leaders and not by their world views. Both parties’ style and direction of governance directly flowed from the elitist socio-economic outlook of former colonizers.
Then it was a choice between Cuenco and Osmeña. Now, in Cebu City, it is between Rama and Osmeña. But then and now whoever wins, party yes-men run the government in the direction of nothing more than insuring the party’s continued control of government. The economy, run by big landlords, businessmen and middlemen, remains partial to the owners of productive resources.
At one time on the national level, Raul Manglapus and his Christian Social Democrats tried to come up with a genuine political party. Also, the ideology-driven Communist Party of the Philippines has always been there. But somehow, neither Christian nor Communist ideology could make any headway.
This could mean that if we are ever going to build genuine political parties, such might have to be started on the local level. And what better place to start than Cebu City, which happens to have the opportunity and springboard for it in Mayor Rama’s suspension.
Team Rama could use the time of the mayor’s suspension to come up with a philosophy on governance and a trademark approach to Cebu City’s socio-economic problems. He could soar politically on the wings of this and not on his open but wordy personality even if this happens to be more democratic than Tommy Osmeña’s defining trait of arrogance.
Mike Rama’s suspension, just like Gwen Garcia’s before, are part of the dirty tricks of personality-based political parties. But as I see it, Mike Rama’s suspension could make him win. He could rise above the political dirt churned by the suspension and light people’s way towards a new politics that serves people’s needs instead of putting these on the backburner as personality-based parties are wont to do.
(I just don’t know though how he is going to minimize the damage of his teaming up with Jejomar Binay whom people perceive as corrupt.)
This is idealist me at my wildest. But I thought I’d give it a good shot and hope I am not overestimating Mike Rama. So here it is. If Mike Rama could leverage his suspension for a win and then lay the foundations of a true political party, he could change the face of Cebu politics.
This cannot happen with Tommy Osmeña, who seems hopelessly addicted to being the center of his world…but then again, he might want to prove me wrong and that would just be swell.