Malilong: Careful, MOM is watching

·3 min read

EVERYTHING I wanted to write about Edgar Labella, I had already written when he was still alive. So let me write about some of the people he left behind instead.

Former city administrator Floro Casas Jr. was, next to the late mayor’s immediate family, the person closest to him. Jun has done errands for Edgar that only he could be trusted to do. He has seen Edgar at his lowest and shared in the celebration of his joys. By his account, he was one of only six people who knew how seriously ill the mayor was even before the public had any inkling that he had a health issue.

Fittingly, Casas was one of two people who delivered the eulogy in the morning of the day Edgar was buried. The other was newly installed Mayor Mike Rama. (Another Labella confidante, MCWD Chairman Joey Daluz, was also in the program but he begged off at the last minute.)

Mike spoke first. Because I arrived late, I caught only the latter part of his speech. It was very Mike Ramaesque, a lighthearted and playful ramble on his relationship with the fallen mayor, whom he addressed as Edgardo, and their governance style which he summed up in terms befitting a conjugal partnership: he was father and Edgar, mother of the city until their roles were reversed once and how suddenly, he was the father again, albeit a widowed one. The last part is mine, he did not say that.

Casas started rather inauspiciously, if emotionally, providing the audience a glimpse into his relationship with his boss and law partner. It was tame, compared to what followed next. If the function of the eulogy is to extol the virtues of the person who died, then what Casas did was totally unexpected. He did speak in praise of his boss, but he spent more time speaking passionately and forcefully about people who hurt Labella when he was alive and yet had the gall to portray themselves as his close friends after he died. Words like “hilabtanon” and “plastic” followed.

He did not name names but it was obvious that he was referring to Mike. I knew. Everyone and his uncle knew. What the late mayor had carefully avoided to do during his lifetime, his right-hand man did in front of his body and within hearing of the entire city who were listening to the live coverage of the necrological services.

So quo vadis, the coalition? Mike has so far admirably kept his cool, not saying anything in response to Jun, but it is delusional to claim that all’s well in the camp of the Rama Labella mother and father tandem, to borrow Mike’s metaphor.

There is a lot of fence-mending begging to be done by the Barug-Kusug-Panaghiusa (the PDP-Laban which used to be a major partner in the coalition, has become a non-entity and does not deserve any mention) combine, a lot of soul-searching by its principal characters.

They do not need to be told that MOM is watching. And she’s smiling.

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