Why Drilon and company?

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

A few days ago, a former colleague of mine in the teaching profession delighted my day with a surprise phone call. Initially, I could hardly recognize his voice. The years that passed since our last talk, decades ago, have made him sound seemingly like an older man than me. My difficulty in figuring out who he was could also be caused by my hearing that is no longer as keen as it used to be. Our talk was disjointed at times. But, whatever might be the reason for some disconnect, our conversation became interesting when my friend put in a clear language what the social media debated in vituperative lingo.

The professor talked about a topic that opposing Facebook posts were haranguing. He would want to congratulate Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama for bringing in to his circle of advisors non-Cebuanos like Sen Franklin Drilon, Gen. Roy Cimatu and Gen. Debold Sinas. My ex-colleague believed in the mayor’s perception that there are no more men (or women) here in Cebu City possessed with bright minds capable of giving him sound advice in running a city. My friend surmised that the mayor has not seen a Cebuano more brilliant than Drilon, a bar topnotcher or more knowledgeable in running an executive office than a former executive secretary or more learned in government affairs than an ex-senate president and veteran lawmaker. Surely, Mayor Rama and the Cebuanos could benefit from whatever Drilon would bring to the mayor’s table.

Who could advise Mayor Rama more profoundly on strategies to address the world’s emerging number one problem of climate change than Cimatu, a former chief of staff of the Philippine Armed Forces who, after retiring from military service, focused his training on environmental issues? According to my former co-teacher, our mayor must have concluded that there is no Cebuano who can approximate the talent and skill of Cimatu.

For the same reason of lack of a dependable and brilliant Cebuano to advise our mayor on peace and order matters, Mayor Rama has turned for the help of a non-Cebuano. Ex-Gen. Sinas, who, many believed, was one huge factor why Tomas Osmeña lost in the 2019 elections to the late Atty Eduardo Labella, fit the demand. My former co-academician thought that in the mind of the city mayor, no Cebuano is better than Sinas.

I have to concede that the most important argument that my co-professor offered to justify, if not laud, the act of our mayor was something not many could have realized. These non-Cebuanos are more objective in tackling service-oriented issues. Their opinions are devoid of any shades of politics. Drilon, Cimatu and Sinas do not belong to any of the known Cebu political groups like Partido Barug, BOPK, Kusug or Panaghiusa. Except perhaps the deep connections of Drilon, who has carried the colors of a national political party for decades, they are not identified with our politicians and so when they advise our mayor only the best interest of all Cebuanos in general will be their consideration. No vested political interest!

Surely, Rama has within his reach some intellectually profound friends capable to be his advisors. That can be safely assumed given the length of his stay in government. But, what my former fellow academe buddy emphasized was that such Rama’s local political allies and business connections who could have been tapped to be his advisors, would probably jade their opinions with personal motives and vested interest. There lies the difference.

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