TEAM Rama and Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) pointed to each other as the ones behind the “Welcome to Binay country” streamer placed at the Cebu South Coastal Road during the closing mass of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) last Sunday.
BOPK standard-bearer Tomas Osmeña and some netizens described the streamer as a show of disrespect to the event.
But for Osmeña, suspended Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s behavior during the mass was worse than the hanging of the streamer.
He criticized Rama for standing in the middle of the crowd, reportedly while the people were receiving Communion, to take a selfie.
“This was in the middle of the aisle while the people were having communion. Is he the same person who set up the streamer? I think so. This clearly shows he has no respect for the activity, for the Eucharist,” he told reporters during a press conference yesterday.
Osmeña then showed reporters a printout of Rama’s selfie, and another photo that the suspended mayor took of himself and Charles Maung Cardinal Bo reportedly during the processional at the IEC closing mass. The same photos were posted and shared by Facebook users since Sunday.
“This is worse than the Binay streamer, this is an insult to the Cebuanos. At least the streamer it’s not doing anything, it’s just standing there. This one, he’s trying to get everyone’s attention… And then he goes to the cardinal, pa selfie-selfie pa! It’s a desperate act, KSP gyud,” the former mayor continued.
Sought for comment, Rama said that his opponent’s criticism is “insignificant.”
“He doesn’t even know the circumstances why I did it. He doesn’t even know where I was exactly when it was taken,” Rama said in a phone interview. He said he will explain the circumstance in his press conference today.
As for the “Welcome to Binay country” streamer, Osmeña pointed to the opposition, saying it’s another one of their desperate acts.
Sun.Star Cebu asked him what evidence he had for suspecting that Rama is behind it, and he said: “Who else will it be? If you look at the consistency of his character and mind, that’s the best evidence. I don’t resort to that kind of gimmick.”
But in the Facebook page “Maghisgot Kitag Politika, Bay,” former city councilor and lawyer Jocelyn Pesquera passed the blame on to BOPK.
“Cheap gimmickry of the opponents. They put streamers to make the VP look bad,” Pesquera’s post read. In one of her comments, she also said that she knew the group behind the propaganda against Vice President Jejomar Binay and Rama, “it’s handled by Tomas’ son.”
The streamer is now with Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification, Enhancement head Raquel Arce, who took it down on orders of Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella last Sunday morning.
In Talisay City, allies of One Cebu Party said they will have to consult their national party before they decide whether to support the presidential bid of Vice President Binay.
Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante said that their decision to support Binay or not will depend on their national party, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
Villarante, who is running for mayor under One Cebu, said that he and his allies’ certificates of nomination and acceptance were signed by NPC, which is fielding Senator Grace Poe as their presidential candidate.
While their choice of presidential candidate is still hanging, Villarante pointed out that his group remained supportive of One Cebu Party gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia.
Villarante said he understood why One Cebu decided to support Binay’s bid as the ongoing disqualification case against Poe is affecting her candidacy.