Espinoza: Will there be a Mike Rama-Tomas Osmeña

·3 min read

It has been said that politicians are always politicians, come what may. They just come and go. This is evinced by our brand of politics that is mostly clannish as shown in most provinces, towns and cities. Cebu City is not an exemption to cliquish politics as exemplified by the previous city leaders that bear the names of Rama, Osmeña, Duterte, Cuenco and Garcia.

The late Cebu City mayor Edgardo Labella was perhaps one of the city’s political leaders that do not belong to a clan of politicians just like Florentino “Dodong” Solon, who was the city mayor during the Martial Law years under then President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. In the past years, Cebu City’s political and administrative affairs were run by then mayor Tomas Osmeña and his successor, Mike Rama. After the death of Mayor Labella in 2021, then vice mayor Rama returned to the mayor’s seat. But, if we look deeper into the party origins of some of the city’s political leaders then and now, they mostly came from the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) of Tomas Osmeña.

Mayor Rama started his political career as councilor in the city’s south district under BOPK. He rose to become the vice mayor after vice mayor Renato Osmeña Sr. (now deceased) retired from politics and after the relationship between Tomas and former mayor Alvin Garcia soured. Garcia also started as Tomas’ vice mayor. So, it’s not surprising if in the coming elections that happen every three years, there will be a reunion of former BOPK leaders and members. Undoubtedly, a reconsolidation of former BOPK members could only happen if there would be no overlap in their personal interests on what position they would be running for in the next midterm elections on May 12, 2025.

On Monday afternoon, I had the first chance to meet Mayor Rama after the May 9, 2022 polls together with former DILG Usec. Bimbo Fernandez to discuss with him our cooperative surety fund concern. Fernandez is the chairman of the Cebu City Coops Surety Fund (CCSF). During that brief discussion, Mayor Rama requested Bimbo, who is a longtime friend and once city administrator of Mayor Tomas, to set a visit in the former mayor’s residence. Could this be Rama’s initial step for a “kiss and make up” with mayor Tomas? Or, a reunion of sorts?

Is the reunion between the Ramas and the Osmeñas far-fetched? I don’t think so. You know, politics is about addition. As the joke about politicians goes, “enemies today, friends tomorrow” and vice versa. To recall, Rama, then a vice mayor, became Cebu City’s acting mayor for the first time when then mayor Tomas took a leave for health reasons.

Mayor Rama proudly claimed that he’s not an ingrate politician, and his brand of politics is inclusive. He still remembers where he came from and knows where he’s going. He even said that he still remembers the basic principles of BOPK and jokingly said that Tomas must have already forgotten them. He said, “We should stop politicking and let’s instead focus our efforts on what is best for the city and our people.”

Talking of the city’s flooding problem, he asked former city councilor Gerry Carillo, chairman of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, to continue with the declogging of the city’s canals and drainage with the onset of the rainy months. Rama also mentioned that buildings or structures that blocked the city’s waterways will be demolished. Let’s wait and see.