Bzzzzz: A shadow government at Cebu City Hall? No, not quite

People talk about...

[1] IMAGES OF NANCY BINAY MAKING FACES BESIDE TITO SOTTO. Caught on camera during the Senate hearing on the coronavirus outbreak, Senator Nancy Binay was “frowning and crunching her face” beside Senate President Vicente Sotto. Sotto’s explanation: She was eating Cheetos, he said, “he he.”

[2] LARSIAN ‘DIFFICULT’ FOR PEST CONTROL. Finding of the Cebu City Health Department: the food strip Larsian near Fuente Osmeña, Cebu City is “prone to pests” and “difficult to keep clean” because it is open 24 hours. Difficult but not impossible. Meantime, eat at the customer’s risk?

‘Sabotage’ charge

The disclosure of Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike Rama Monday, February 3, that he created a task force of councilors to cope with the threat of coronavirus and allied diseases sparked the suspicion that he was out to sabotage the administration of his mayor, Edgardo Labella. (See Elias L. Espinoza column, SunStar of Feb. 4, 2020).

Lawyer Ellie cited as basis the fact that (1) Labella has already taken steps to prepare for a feared outbreak in Cebu and (2) Rama didn’t adequately answer questions from “Frankahay Ta” hosts Atty. Frank Malilong and Espinoza on dyCM radio.

Shot down

Overheard a few months ago, when talks about a supposed rift between Rama and Labella were rampant, was a plan in the Rama camp to create “a shadow government.” The plan was promptly shot down, an informant said.

It would’ve been a misnomer since a “shadow government” is set up run by people who are not in power, usually the opposition. Rama is with the ruling party, Partido Barug, one of its top pillars in fact. If there would be a shadow government under Labella’s rule, it would be the making of former mayor Tomas Osmena and BOPK, the current opposition group.

The idea came up during the early days of the Labella term when Mike Rama reportedly complained of having been shut out on allocation of jobs and other perks that a new administration routinely enjoys.

‘Nonsense’

But perhaps the “shadow government” phrase is being loosely used: a group of politicians within the ruling party who aren’t content with the way things are run and planning to break away in the next election.

Nonsense, one Barug leader told, off-mike, a radio commentator. The talked-about intramurals are expected in any group that has more than one faction, he said. Ultimately, if you talk of the next elections, having a unified front is difficult but not impossible to achieve.

Mike’s activism in executive functions could be a remnant of his having been mayor for two terms (2010 and 2013). It doesn’t necessarily mean he is now preparing a comeback from his “demotion” to the post of vice mayor and presiding officer of the City Council. And he has a reason for his interest in the coronavirus threat. He is the chairman of the committee on health.

But he could’ve asked the mayor instead to create the task force by executive order. That way, it would appear to be operating in the light of the mayor’s office, not in the shadows.

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