Briones: No more Rama-Garcia tandem?

On the go

The cat is finally out of the bag. And straight from the horse’s mouth, too.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama recently called his vice mayor, Raymond Alvin Garcia, a “backstabber,” after the latter, together with some city officials, met with his aunt, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, to discuss matters about the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT).

I don’t think anyone is surprised that the relationship has soured. Although I have to admit, I am impressed at how long the two officials had managed to keep up the charade that things were lovey-dovey between them.

There have been many tell-tale signs.

In the lead-up to this year’s Sinulog alone, the vice mayor did or said many things that completely contradicted the mayor.

Do I have to spell out what these were? Nah, I don’t think so. But it certainly felt like there were two Sinulog celebrations this year. The one at the South Road Properties, and the one at the Cebu City Sports Center.

At any rate, Raymond has again shown that he and the mayor don’t see eye to eye. Why else would he side with the governor when her concerns are to protect the interest of

the Province?

She has every right to object to CBRT-related construction within Capitol-owned lots, especially if it allegedly lacks a documentary permit.

Capitol consultant and historian Jose Eleazar Bersales, who also happens to be a member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Advisory Board, had pointed out to her that the project might be violating the Philippine Heritage Law.

So what if this means the project will be delayed yet again? So what? It will be the constituents of Cebu City who will suffer. They are the ones who have to endure the traffic. They are the ones who are inconvenienced by the excavation work.

One smart aleck pointed out that not everyone in Cebu City is from Cebu City. Well, they are more than welcome to move back to wherever they come from.

I’m from Cebu City. The ongoing CBRT project affects my day-to-day living since I have to cross its route every day to and from work. I know what I’m talking about. And I am not alone.

But Raymond, as our vice mayor, should have thought about our plight. He should have defended the project, and explained that further delays would have an immense impact on residents, especially the ones who are registered voters of Cebu City.

The governor is just doing her job. The vice mayor should have done his.

For the latter to actually ask the Office of the Building Official to issue a cease and desist order against the CBRT contractor is him turning his back on Cebu City and on Rama.

It would appear that for the vice mayor, “heritage” and “history” trump the travails of the people who will be directly affected by any snags the CBRT project will encounter.

It would also appear that the mayor and the vice mayor’s interests had diverged a long time ago.

So their split — and they have split, haven’t they? — was inevitable.

And to think that less than two weeks ago, Rama and Raymond announced that they would be running for reelection in next year’s midterm polls as a team.

Raymond went as far as to say he would not part political ways with Rama. You would think the two had always had a good relationship, forgetting the fact that they have an acrimonious past.

No wonder former Cebu City administrator Floro Casas Jr. reacted the way he did: surprised and worried.

Oh well, at least now Rama and Raymond can stop playing pretend.


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