Sleep it off, Mike
TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - October 14, 2019 - 12:00am

I am beginning to wonder if Cebuanos did not make a huge mistake in electing former Cebu City mayor Mike Rama as vice mayor. For hardly has he warmed the vice mayor's seat than he is already off the blocks in the race for mayor in 2022. Mike is anchoring his early campaign on something as flimsy and ephemeral as social justice.

I do not know what is bugging Mike but it would do well for his health if he just sleeps it off. There is no social justice Mike, or at least not in this world as we inherited it. Mike, I know, is a religious man, but he must have missed the point God is trying to make in making so many poor people. God loves the poor, Mike. So your social justice is bound to freaking fail.

Outside the realm of the divine, those vendors occupying the streets and sidewalks of Colon and Osmena Boulevard are not meant to be there. Never have been. Streets and sidewalks are not marketplaces. Mike himself knows this to be true. If they have not been provided proper places to go, it must be because of people like Mike who have been officials for decades but have not taken up the issue until it was convenient to do so.

Why has the issue of social justice for street and sidewalk vendors suddenly become an itch inside Mike Rama's pants? Is it because it is Mayor Edgar Labella who is ridding the streets and sidewalks of them? But Labella probably would not have also taken action had there not been a direct order to do so from President Duterte.

And that leaves us the question --- would you have heeded the order, Mike, had you been the mayor? I am pretty sure you would have, your pangs for social justice notwithstanding. For you would not dare cross Duterte, lest he starts waving again that piece of paper that has scared stiff so many officials like you.

I myself do not believe what is in that paper. But waved by the president, it can spell disaster for anyone aspiring for public office. So, if I were Mike, I would not proceed to seek an audience with the president to protest an action that the president himself ordered. As they say in Tagalog, "ano ka, sineswerte?"

Talking of social justice, or any other justice for that matter, I would suppose it applies equally to others, not just street and sidewalk vendors. Mike cannot take up the cause of street and sidewalk vendors without abandoning social justice for the rest of us. The rest of us, who pay the taxes that ironically keep Mike in office, are precisely for whom the streets and sidewalks were built. Mike cannot ignore that fact without looking like Daffy Duck.

When vendors took over streets and sidewalks, they knew they were doing something illegal. Mike cannot propose to reward them unless he wants to send the wrong signal to real criminals. In fact even non-criminals might get the impression that it is now perfectly all right to break the rules or do wrong in Cebu City so long as you do it in the name of social justice and Mike Rama is there to champion such a capricious and convoluted cause.

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