Briones: The denouement

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

Was Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella aware of what his friend and “brother” Vice Mayor Michael Rama was planning to do, or was he caught flat-footed by the latter’s question during a press conference on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021?

No doubt Rama backed Labella into a corner when he asked the mayor to divulge his “real” state of health. This could only mean Labella has been hiding something from the public when he stopped reporting to City Hall after he was discharged from the hospital on Jan. 25 for an ear infection.

I for one don’t think the matter is any of my business. But, and it’s a big BUT, Labella is a public figure and I guess he owes the people who voted him into office the “truth” about his condition.

I don’t doubt the mayor has been hard at work. And, because he belongs to that age group deemed vulnerable to the coronavirus disease 2019, he is right to stay put in the comfort and safety of his home and avoid the crowds that congregate in City Hall.

But I think there’s more to it. And the vice mayor knows that, which perhaps explains why he gambled his reputation and his political future when he put Labella on the spot.

Because how else would you describe his actions last Sunday?

Actually, I had a feeling Rama was going to drop a bombshell after the City Council’s regular session last Friday.

He did put forward the idea that something was amiss. That there was something Labella was not telling the public

“Let’s not be naïve,” Rama said. “There is something wrong.” He then went on to quote a popular line from William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar.” I don’t know if he inadvertently left out the next line or if he was aware of the implication of choosing a play that is based on a historical figure who was stabbed in the back, figuratively and literally, by people whom he had considered his friends.

At any rate, the vice mayor had set the stage for the climax. I just didn’t think it would happen so soon or that it would be so cryptic.

When asked if he knew what ailed the mayor, Rama replied: “Lisod gyud kaayo og ako’y moingon sa akong nahibaw-an (It wouldn’t be prudent on my part if I reveal what I know).”

To which the mayor, in a separate interview, answered: “I’m going to tell them.” Only he didn’t, which left me scratching my head and wondering if we had been taken for a ride.

Either way, I truly wish Labella well and hope he sheds light on the issue soon.

To avoid any confusion, to quote the vice mayor.