Cebu News

Rama: I did not back manifesto

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday said he “felt really slighted” after learning that the League of the Cities of the Philippines included Cebu City in a manifesto that expressed support for President Benigno Aquino III despite issues raised against the administration on the Mamasapano, Maguindanao incident.

“I felt really slighted.  Why are they putting Cebu City when I did not confirm (agreeing to) …that manifesto?” Rama said, adding that he was shocked after seeing “Cebu City” in the manifesto published by a national paper two weeks ago.

Rama said that he received text message on the manifesto, but he did not concur that Cebu City would be included.

“Kun kita mangayo og suporta sa national government for (the construction of) CCMC (Cebu City Medical Center), they are not around. And now they want Cebu City to support the national government, the Office of the President?” he said.

The League of the Cities of the Philippines constitutes 104 cities of the country and is currently headed by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, a “close friend” of the president’s celebrity sister Kris Aquino.

Rama said that he does not know who initiated the manifesto showing support for the president.

 The manifesto was obviously meant to counter the controversy the current administration got itself into over the Mamasapano, Maguindanao incident, when 44 police commandos were killed by Muslim rebels in a January 25 operation that allegedly was under the direct supervision of the president.

On whether he is for or against the ouster of the president, Rama said resignation is more appropriate compared to having a revolt to oust the chief executive of the country.

 “We have enough of martial law. We ended up having the people’s power. We were so proud of the people’s power, but did it build the nation?” Rama said.

He said he espouses the rule of law, while acknowledging that there is “a problem of leadership” in the country.

Rama said the Mamasapano incident last January 25 is another “moment of awakening,” as he criticized the president and his men for saying they were in Malacañang during the operation when in fact he was in Zamboanga allegedly monitoring the operation.

There were also reports Aquino was in Zamboanga so he could personally thank the SAF once they get international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.  While Marwan was indeed killed during the operation, there was no celebration because of the death of the 44 SAF members.

“Who are they fooling?”  Rama said, adding that somebody screwed up along the way. He also said there should be no more talks on the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“It was not an encounter. It was an execution. What is there to give a chance the BBL for? Who are we fooling? Are we waiting for the awards?” he said, referring to many of the policemen who were allegedly finished off while lying wounded and helpless on the ground.

In a separate interview, City of Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong said that he was not able to sign the manifesto because he is not actively participating in activities of the league.

He, however, said he does not want the president to step down from his post since elections is already fast approaching.

Carcar City Mayor Nicepuro Apura, on the other hand, said he signed the manifesto to show support because being the president is not easy.

“Support gihapon ta kay dili raba gyud na lalim nga daghan kaayo siya og problema, pareha ra pod nas mga mayor, pero mas dako kaayo’g scope ang presidente. So, support lang ta,” Apura said.

Meanwhile, Rama said he asked the Police Coordinating and Advisory Council through Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella to recommend the granting of financial assistance to the family of Police Officer 1 (PO1) Windel Candano, one of the SAF 44.

Rama said the amount could be P50, 000 or P100, 000.  He visited the family of Candano in Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City.—/RHM (FREEMAN)











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