Seares: Why ex-'usec' Josephus Jimenez declined Mayor Rama's job offer: 'We don't support the same president.' People expect more from a garbage czar.

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‘WITH RESPECT & POLITELY.’ A May 27, 2022 message of Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez to his companera and friend, retired Court of Appeals associate justice Portia Alino-Hormachuelos, was posted on Facebook thus: “With due respect & politely, I declined an offer to work in government again. I opted to serve the people through an NGO (non-government organization).”

The short post didn’t specify the job and Jimenez’s actual reason for rejecting it.

Josephus Jimenez – a lawyer, author of law books, newspaper columnist and former undersecretary of labor – was offered the job by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama. Jimenez was included in Mayor Rama’s list of probable appointees under his fresh term starting June 30. Earlier, on November 27, Jimenez was named as Rama’s consultant but, in a May 28 interview with broadcaster Elias Baquero, the mayor said the labor expert wouldn’t be an ordinary consultant but a “working consultant” starting July 1.

Well, that may no longer happen. The reason apparently is not so much Jimenez’s love for NGOs as his dislike of Bongbong Marcos Jr. Jimenez told me Wednesday, June 22: “...We supported different presidents.” “It is indecent for me to serve in official capacity because I do not like his PRESIDENT (capitalized by Jimenez).”

'I LOVE MIKE BUT' Jimenez prefaced his comment on the rejection: “I love Mike and I want to help him in a private capacity. I want him to succeed for the good of Cebu...” But -- there’s the “but.”

I asked him Wednesday, June 22 what he could’ve suggested to the mayor as change or improvement of the system at City Hall: “Adopt principle-based criteria in choosing people and in signing contracts: 80-percent merit system, 20-percent politics, not the other way around.”

He said “Mike is a good man...” Jimenez wouldn’t publicly say the “but” although one could speculate that it must be an issue raised by his election rivals about some people surrounding the mayor, “with many question marks and exclamation points and parentheses with the peso sign.”

WHAT’S IN A TITLE is that the simpler and more specific it is, the easier the public understands what the office or agency does. Grace Luardo was announced Monday as the city’s “garbage czar,” a much shorter title than the mouthful that’s the City Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Team.

The trouble with “czar” is that people more from the holder of the position. A garbage czar of then mayor Tomas Osmeña once complained, “What do they think, a czar has such vast powers that I can make mounds and mounds of garbage all over the city disappear?”

IS AÑO LETTING GO? Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief Eduardo Año gave Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia until last weekend to correct the alleged defects of the province executive order and ordinance making the wearing of face mask optional. As of this story filing, nothing from the DILG chief yet. But then, there’s no deadline for Año to carry out his threat -- that is if the June 30 expiry of his term doesn’t count.

BBM OR MARCOS JR. How would the news media call the president-elect in their stories? Some people think they shouldn’t use “BBM” as it is an endearment. Use Marcos Jr., they suggest, because it “evokes the memory of Marcos Sr., the dictator.”

A news organization can be naughty, if not mean. One newspaper adopted in its style guide “B.S. Aquino III” for then president Noynoy Aquino (from 2010 to 2016). “B.S.” stands for Benigno Simeon – and that expletive.

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