Editorial: Not bankrupt as claimed

THE holding of elections is important in a democratic setting in that it is supposed to rejuvenate governance by allowing the governed to replace administrations and programs they deem oppressive, unresponsive or moribund. That presupposes that the replacement officials are capable of improving on the old and jettisons personal and political biases and subjectivity when they govern.

Acting Cebu City Mayor Margarita Osmeña was not the one that the city’s constituents voted as mayor in the May 9 elections to replace Mayor Michael Rama. Her husband, Tomas Osmeña, was. She took over the post because Malacañang suspended Rama, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and 12 city councilors until their term ends on June 30. She is supposed to be a caretaker but acting like she is the elected mayor.

And she brought with her the personal and political biases and subjectivity that were shaped when she was still with the opposition.

Her first few acts included the recall of vehicles City Hall issued to the barangay captains, an overwhelming majority of whom is with Team Rama and not with her Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK). Apparently eager to shame the incumbent, she ordered the auditing of the city’s finances insinuating that Rama mishandled the funds and that the city is bankrupt.

Instead, the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), which conducted the two-day cash audit, said that the city still has P8.48 billion in its coffers. That is vindication enough for Rama and the often-criticized City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas.

“They had doubts that the daily cash report submitted to them would not reconcile with the bank and cash balances. That the figures would be bloated. Now it is proven that the money is there,” Cuevas said.

Cuevas was not asked and did not say who the “they” she was referring to. But “they” obviously include the acting mayor who ordered the audit.

If Osmena is acting like this when she is just acting mayor, imagine the kind of personal and political biases and subjectivity her husband will bring to City Hall once he sits as mayor. Will he ever see some of the good things Rama has done? This could be a case where governance suffers instead of being rejuvenated.

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