Espinoza: Natural after-effect

·3 min read

IS the warning of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (or you may call it a threat depending on which side of the political fence you are on), to the coterminous and non-performing City Hall employees politically motivated?

Maybe not, but it could be just a natural consequence when there is change of leadership in any government administration. Rama said casual and job order workers at the City Hall whose goal is to serve in their respective offices need not worry.

“No one should be afraid, as long as you are not a thief, dirty, lazy, quarrelsome, gossipy, an intriguer, mocking, one who takes advantage of others, a complainer about the workload, selfish, or an employee who does not know how to do anything,” Rama added.

Said otherwise, would it mean that there are City Hall employees who are “thieves, dirty, lazy, quarrelsome, gossipers, intriguers, mockers, taking advantage of others, complainers about the workload, selfish, and who do not know how to do anything?” I wish it’s untrue and I hope these civil servants are true to their calling.

Before the demise of Mayor Edgardo Labella, but after his 30-day leave expired, Rama—who was then serving as acting city mayor—established a “shadow cabinet” wherein he appointed his trusted men to oversee, coordinate, collaborate and cooperate with the 37 department heads that includes the City Administrator. In other words, Rama’s watchdogs.

Rama’s “shadow cabinet,” according to my source, caused inconvenience and discomfort to some of the department heads since it looked like their every move was being watched and that they are not trustworthy in their responsibilities.

After the death of Labella, Rama is now the full-fledged city mayor, at least for seven months or so. Rama is running for city mayor with Councilor Raymond Garcia as his vice mayoralty bet in the May 9, 2022 elections. They are under the administration party, PDP-Laban Cusi wing. Rama is up against the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan mayoralty bet Margot Osmeña and independent candidate for mayor Councilor Dave Tumulak.

While Rama promised not “to rock the boat” at the City Hall, his order for the one-month evaluation of the performance of all employees is providing a gap among the City Hall employees, particularly the department heads, who are Labella’s appointees.

Of course, as the new manager of the City Hall, it’s Rama’s prerogative to do what he feels is right. He clarified that the retention of those appointed to the coterminous positions, like the department heads, would be based on his trust and confidence. However, some of Rama’s allies are already itching to get these positions. I suppose that those appointed by Labella are already prepared to leave their posts once Rama replaces them.

It’s no secret though that during those times when Rama was the acting mayor, every time then mayor Labella was admitted to the hospital, some of the department heads avoided Rama or did not heed his orders. It was even reported that some of the department heads would also take a leave of absence, a valid excuse to elude Rama every time he would call for a meeting with them.

Being a mayor is not new to Rama though since he held this post for two terms in the past. The city’s current problems may not be that gargantuan, but they would make him busy for the last seven months in office while he campaigns for his mayoralty bid when the campaign period starts next year. Best of luck, Mayor!

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