Briones: Mike takes on the world yet again

On the go
Publio J. Briones III
Publio J. Briones III

Appearances are indeed deceiving.

To the athletes who attended the closing ceremony of the Central Visayas Regional Athletics Association on Thursday, May 9, 2024, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama was business as usual.

He came. He sang. And he gave a speech.

The banner photo of SunStar Cebu on Friday, May 10, showed Rama serenading the delegates with the song, “One in a Million.”

He seemed “unfazed” by the pending serving of the preventive suspension that would keep him out of the mayor’s office until November.

But that’s not what the banner photo of the other paper showed the public.

Taken hours before the program during a prayer rally at the Plaza Sugbo, Rama, his left hand clasping his wife Malou’s hand, looked like he was breaking down.

That’s just my guess, though. I wasn’t there and didn’t witness the whole thing firsthand, so I could be wrong. Maybe the mayor was trying to wipe the sweat from his forehead. After all, temperatures in Cebu have been uncomfortably hot with the heat index hovering at almost 40 degrees Celsius.

Either way, the two images depict a stark contrast of the person behind the man, of the enigma that is Mike Rama.

A character indeed he is.

Albeit not a man with a golden tongue, he nevertheless manages to take his listeners for a ride that not only goes up and down, but also left and right.

To say that the mayor is a major disciple of rigmarole would be an insult to understatement.

As for his love of singing, we should be grateful that the songs love him back. Or at least are oblivious.

Thankfully he doesn’t sing on every occasion. As far as I know, that is. Imagine the mayor in a funeral holding a microphone. I shudder at the thought.

Still, we are in a country where politics has become a spectacle that rivals the showbiz industry; a lot of song and dance numbers, a lot of razzmatazz that hypnotize the public to forget or ignore the problems at hand.

Of course, there are always exceptions. There are those who employ spectacle while zeroing in on the social ill.

And like it or not, Rama is one of them.

I can see some raised eyebrows, but hear me out.

Insisting on implementing the three-meter easement rule along the city’s waterways was akin to political suicide. Many informal settlers as well as established establishments would be affected.

Did that dissuade the mayor? Even though it would mean loss of many pogi points? Rama went ahead to do what needed to be done to address the city’s flooding problem during the wet season.

And what about his dreams for Cebu City? Ignore the fact that he picked the world’s fourth richest country in the world based on GDP-PPP per capita as a yardstick. At least he dreams. And what are dreams but “a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.”

Maybe Rama is indeed “unfazed.” The man has been through a lot and has always managed to get back on his feet like a cat with nine lives.

By the way, I heard that the preventive suspension order against the mayor was “good as not served.”

Grab your popcorn, everyone. It’s going to be a long show.

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