Bzzzzz: Mike Rama, as full-fledged acting mayor, to keep Casas as city administrator... Alcoseba, Gealon on free school supplies... MOM’s different meanings

·4 min read

Which MOM do you mean?

“MOM,” originally used by Bando Osmeña–Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) to introduce its candidate for city mayor in 2022, was intended as acronym for “Margot Osmeña Mayor.” “MOM” jibes with Tomas Osmena’s pitch that Cebu City “needs a mom to solve its problems.”

Barug, the dominant party that BOPK challenges in next year’s election, reads “MOM” in another way: “Mike Our Mayor.” We already have our MOM, thank you, Barug supporters supposedly say.

If voters are confused in 2022, they’d still be confused in 2025 if the only son of Tomas Osmena and Margot Osmeña would run for mayor against Mike. BOPK’s MOM could stand for “Miguel Our Mayor” while Barug’s MOM would still be “Mike Our Mayor.”

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Has his ‘own group’ or staff

EVEN as full-fledged Cebu City Acting Mayor (AM) Michael Rama will keep Mayor Edgardo Labella’s city administrator, Floro Casas Jr. Rama became “full mayor” last week after Labella’s temporary incapacity lengthened to more than 30 straight working days.

The city administrator or manager works under the authority and direction of the city mayor. Thus, the administrator’s position is most highly confidential, with his powers and influence proportionate to the trust of the city mayor in his manager. The administrator’s term of office is coterminous with that of the city mayor. When the mayor goes, the administrator departs as well. But what if the mayor is just on a long, extended leave as Mayor Labella has been?

What the law has not seen is the effect of a mayor’s lengthy absence or incapacity on the term of the city administrator. An incongruity exists in which the acting mayor won’t have a city manager of his choice and confidence. He is stuck with the city manager of the absentee mayor.

Labella has not lost his title and position, except that he does not actually serve as chief executive. That, even though Labella has been on leave for a long time now and the functions of mayor have been performed by AM Rama for several months already.

NO BOAT ROCKING. Casas will stay and Rama will keep him, at least until June 30, 2021, AM Rama told Bzzzzz Tuesday, November 2. Rama said he won’t “rock the boat.” He has his own group of people that assists him on the job. Which opens the risk of departments and employees getting instruction from two sets of authority, unless the Labella/Casas group clearly defers to the Rama group during Mike’s acting-mayor stint.

Earlier, the City Council asked Rama, as acting mayor, to suspend Casas’s “unlimited” authority to sign contracts and documents in behalf of Mayor Labella, an alleged anomaly the Comission on Audit found, with the finding relayed to City Government in its 2020 audit.

Elected and appointed officials’ term of office, including Casas’s, generally expire on June 30, 2022, when new officials take over.

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Uniform, bags, school supplies

TWO scenes related to the issue of school supplies being given to students in the city’s lower-grade public schools:

[] Scene 1, at the Cebu City Council, BOPK Councilor Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba, asking for the City School Board representative to appear before the Sanggunian and tell how the dole-outs from the City for the next school opening were conducted.

Apparently, the freebies -- school uniform, bags filled with school supplies and the like -- were already being distributed with the sponsors of the ordinance reportedly not informed and not present.

[] Scene 2, former city legal officer Rey Gealon at his radio commentary program, relating how in one such distribution of school supplies, a mother who got three sets of the freebies, for each of her schoolchildren, tearfully thanked the City Hall people who were giving them away. Gealon is a Barug candidate for city councilor.

One can understand Kons Alcoseba’s annoyance, if not anger. Yayoy, a BOPK reelectionist, was a co-sponsor of City Ordinance #2543, titled “An Ordinance for the provision of annual free school supplies to all public elementary schools in the City of Cebu.” And he said, he was neither informed and invited to the distribution of school supplies.

Atty. Charisse Piramide told Bzzzzz the ordinance does not specify the amount appropriated, but it authorizes the giving of supplies annually to all students in the city’s public elementary schools, from kindergarten to Grade 6. Atty. Chappy, head of the Sanggunian secretariat, said the ordinance was approved last November 5, 2019. The pandemic must have delayed its implementation.

Gealon, who’s running for city councilor, said this is being done for the first time under a new administration, noting that the 30-year occupancy of City Hall by Barug rival BOPK had not done it.

TWO SPONSORS. Gealon didn’t mention thee two authors of the ordinance: Barug’s Raymond Alvin Garcia and BOPK’s Alcoseba. Whoever the authors are though, it is Barug that started implementing the program, which BOPK for three decades or so had failed to do.

And no, Garcia was not also invited to the initial distribution of the supplies. In effect, he joined Alcoseba’s complaint of having been shut out from the activity that would’ve helped their public exposure to the benefactors of the project.

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