Close watch
TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - May 31, 2019 - 12:00am

No malice or disrespect intended, but it is no mean feat for a relative political lightweight like Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgar Labella to convincingly defeat a sitting veteran heavyweight with a name to boot like Mayor Tomas Osmeña. If I had been Labella, I probably would be doing exactly what he is doing.

And what is Labella doing? Why, he is exulting! He talks with unbridled excitement and enthusiasm about what he will be doing the moment he sits as new Cebu City mayor. Not that anyone can blame him if he talks as if he is still campaigning, promising to do this and act on that.

But the mayorship is not a walk in the park. There are certain realities waiting to slap him silly if he is not careful. And the sooner Labella eases out of his extended campaign mood and settles down to terra firma, the better for him and the Cebuanos.

Remember, he has won. He is now the mayor-elect just waiting for the appointed time to sit. No more need to remind the public what he had promised them he would do. When the opportune time comes, he just needs to do what he set out to do and that's that.

There is something, however, that he needs to do right now, something that needs to preoccupy a large part of the intervening time between now and when he actually sits as mayor. And that is to keep a close watch on the administration that is on its way out.

Labella has to make sure that anything that needs to be turned over is turned over intact. Anything that needs to be assumed or inherited is clean and free of encumbrances. Politics in Cebu City, while not exactly violent, is certainly not a kiddie party either. If there are snakes in the grass to be found, in all likelihood some can be found in this city.

Now would be a good time for Labella to become his original professional self, which is as a lawyer. He needs to exercise the legal sleuthing that has distinguished his stint as a former Ombudsman director. It is a matter of highest public interest that he does so. Politics can come later, as it is its nature to always come.

It is always expected by the public during every political transition for the incoming government to see to it that their interests are protected and that the outgoing one remains accountable for anything there is to account. Labella must not get distracted by the need to divvy up the spoils and repay political debts. There will be all the time for that. For now, keep a close watch.

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