A CEBU newspaper headlined it thus: “Mike giveth, Tom taketh away” (Cebu Daily News, July 23, 2016).
Not like in Job 1:21 though: “The Lord gave, and now the Lord has taken away,” in which giver is also taker. At Cebu City Hall, one mayor is taking back what another mayor gave.
A mayor is no god, to be sure, but sometimes one who sits in that office must feel awesome sense of power. Then mayor Mike Rama used to say, “Pagmayor una mo” and incumbent mayor Tomas Osmea reportedly bristled, when asked about his arbitrary moves, “Who says the mayor cannot do that?”
Lately, under then acting mayor Margot Osmeña and since June 30 under Mayor Tomas, the new administration has done a lot of taking away.
Including seizure of properties, firing casual workers, abolition of special boards, slashing or removal of subsidies. Involving:
--cash aid to barangays;
--stipends to police and allowances of judges, prosecutors and others employed by the national government;
-- firearms and vehicles used by law enforcers, officials and barangay captains;
-- ambulances and mini-buses assigned to barangays;
-- special commissions, councils or bodies or tenure of members serving them.
Tomas cited valid reasons: inventory of properties, waste or duplication, unproductive employees getting honorarium, and other forms of wasteful spending.
Yet his personal and political agenda are glaring. He wants to hit back at Rama and his supporters. Bulldoze to the ground the political infrastructure of those who opposed him in the elections.
But he cannot legally take away what law has given except in the manner provided by law.
He cannot deny equal protection of the law by serving only BOPK constituents. He cannot inflict political vengeance if in the process he derails basic services.
Besides, biblically too, vengeance is “not his, not for him to repay.”