Espinoza: Politics over the people's wellbeing?

Elias L. Espinoza

CEBU City Mayor Edgar C. Labella's incessant efforts to prevent if not stay the spread of the coronavirus is somehow stymied by the unfounded hint of irregular purchases of the testing kits and other items that in the process sideswiped Sec. Mike Dino, presidential assistant for the Visayas.

As of the last count, Cebu City has 4,797 from a total of 6,276 in the entire Region 7. Cebu province listed 635 cases, Negros Oriental 28, and Bohol 23. Mandaue City has recorded 532 and Lapu-Lapu City 261.

With the high number of Covid-19 cases, Cebu City is considered the epicenter in the region. The Covid-19 cases are even higher than the populous cities in Metro Manila. For this reason, the city mayor was branded a weak leader by his critics. But what can the city mayor do to fight this faceless enemy? Instead, he needs the help of everyone regardless of political color.

Opposition Cebu City Councilor Joy Young made the charge in his FB account. In a privilege speech during a City Council session, Young also asked where the 17,000 pieces of dressed chickens went that were donated by a Thai firm for the Covid-19 affected residents.

Secretary Dino flatly denied the accusations of any wrongdoing in the purchase of the RT-PCR machines and test kits. The rapid testing first saw resistance from the barangay residents to undergo the test. He said it was Cebu City that purchased the test kits and his office only assisted in the procurement of the kits.

Opav's Asec. Jonjie Gonzales took the cudgels for Dino in answering the accusations of Councilor Young. Gonzales rebuked the city councilor for sowing confusion and intrigues in this time of pandemic. Gonzales said the Christina Lee Dino Foundation (CLDF) has donated the RT-PCR machines and test kits when in March the supply became scarce.

So, what's the point that Councilor Young was driving at when he posted on his FB account the alleged controversial purchases of the RT-PCR machines and test kits if he has no iota of evidence to support his claims? Just to rock the boat at this time when Mayor Labella needs his cooperation to fight this coronavirus? Senseless!

Councilor Young knows the procedure on the city's procurement of goods and items. Any irregularity in the purchases would make the city mayor responsible and liable. After all, everything will be subjected to post audit and the proper venue is the Ombudsman in the event that corruption was involved in those purchases.

On the alleged missing dressed chickens, ABC president and Councilor Franklin Ong, who secured the donations, is the right person to answer Young's query. But Young and Ong belong to one party, BOPK, so the question was directed to the city mayor.

Of course, it's the right of Councilor Young, just like any concerned citizen, to raise questions on what he thinks is improper. But the timing somehow of Young's issue against the now beleaguered Mayor Labella is a suspect. He is now part of the problem instead of being part of the solution.