DID Maria Victoria “Minnie” Osmeña decline the offer of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte for her to be secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT)? Can she accept a government position when she is an American citizen? Or was she ever offered that position? Weren't the reports about it only a publicity gimmick by spin doctors to make the public believe the Osmeñas are close to Duterte?

These are questions that need to be answered by Osmeña, older sister and major campaign fund contributor of the “former political has-been” and incoming Cebu City mayor. It seems there was no more follow up to that story that came out in another paper two weeks ago.

Last week, Duterte appointed Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo, sister of Manila-based media personalities, the Tulfo brothers, as DOT secretary. I was surprised. So, what happened to Minnie?

Roy Alvin S. Saladaga of V. Rama Ave., Barangay Calamba shared to me via e-mail his two cents-worth of opinion on Minnie's “aborted” appointment. It seems Mr. Saladaga had inside information regarding the “political maneuver” of the Osmeñas to portray themselves as close to Duterte.

“A news article about Minnie Osmeña consulting her brother, Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña, regarding the offer of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte for her to become the secretary of the Department of Tourism came out in a local daily last June 3, 2016.The tone of the article seemed to give an impression that it was Duterte himself who approached Minnie and offered her the position.

“That such was cut off when Duterte actually appointed Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo for the position. As for Minnie? Nothing. When would the Osmeñas, including the city mayor-elect, stop brandishing their 'fake closeness' to Duterte?

“A Facebook video livestream showed the second Thanksgiving Party Duterte attended in Cebu. This was held in a swanky restaurant at the Mandaue Reclamation Area. But the atmosphere was typical to the Osmeñas, if we give them the benefit of the doubt about their 'closeness' to Duterte.

“Minnie sat beside the president-elect, who perhaps acknowledged her presence that night. What was revealing was that Mayor-elect Osmeña sat across Duterte. Worse, he posted on his Facebook page his 'alleged meeting' with the president-elect. But the Facebook video of a netizen, a devoted Duterte campaign volunteer, didn't confirm it. In other words, no such Duterte-Osmeña meeting occurred.

“Yes, Osmeña and Duterte are long-time friends. But there is such a thing as 'political enemy,' and that that may be the reason why their friendship got jeopardized. Tommy himself confirmed that twice, first in an interview with a local television station wherein he said he did not support Duterte because he was for Liberal Party's Mar Roxas in the May elections and, second, in an interview with the show 'Bawal ang Pasaway' with Mareng Winnie Monsod.

“In those two interviews after the elections, Tommy said Duterte is just good at peace and order and he likes Roxas to be the president because of his business process outsourcing program that brings 100,000 jobs to the people.

“If Osmeña is alienated from the inner ring of the incoming Duterte administration, it is because of his steadfast adherence to the political tenets of Roxas, not of Duterte's. Principle over friendship is a virtue of Tommy that needs to be understood and respected.

“Is this the reason why Minnie lost the DOT position to Mon Tulfo's sister? It depends. If Minnie told us the truth that it was indeed Duterte who offered her the post, then Tommy's allegiance to Roxas could be pinpointed as the culprit. But if Minnie was also faking closeness with Duterte, then the act of standing pat for Roxas is immaterial. The Osmeña siblings just want to make it appear to the public that they still have clout.

“Wait a minute, who is Minnie's close friend? Is it Duterte or former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr.? Who offered her the tourism department post? Was it Duterte or Pimentel. Just asking, Sir Bobby.”

(bobby@sunstar.com.ph)