Power play

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez - The Freeman

The reins of Cebu City Hall are now with another person. This came after Mayor Michael Rama was issued a preventive suspension for six months by the Office of the Ombudsman. Throughout my career as a news person, this is my second time to witness his suspension as mayor. In 2015 I was there in City Hall, and the recent one I viewed online. The common denominator between both instances was that he was not present when the order was served. Once again, the Department of the Interior and Local Government which served as the implementing agency, failed to personally give him his suspension.

Last Monday, acting Mayor Raymond Garcia faced employees of City Hall after the flag-raising ceremony. He explained his role as a leader who assumed the responsibility. The atmosphere was different from the usual. There was no fanfare of dances and songs or any long speech. It ended a little over 30 minutes with the emcee mandating all employees to go back to work as parting words.

During Garcia's first day, the scenes in the different offices were filled with mixed emotions. Others felt the need to bully the four employees whose complaint sparked the suspension. The acting mayor only wanted to keep the operations running and hopefully back to normal. Of course, those who found loyalty as a barrier to public service and couldn't stomach this fact. Either they didn't show up to the called meetings or refused to take command. The marching orders were simple: to continue servicing Cebu City unhampered.

Both Rama and Garcia have contributed to what the city is today. They may have differences in leadership style but both share a common goal. One only has to look at their agenda, how they are addressing issues and the persons hired to their office so that they could be given a good judgment. At times, the leader is pushed to shove because of those who answer to them. Also, at times, these individuals often have the aspiration to also be the top official someday.

The next six months will take on a different turn of events. There might be huge changes, one that we may not be prepared for. Garcia says he will be on top of the major engagements that the city has committed to, especially the Palarong Pambansa. Rama, on the other hand, continues to speak to his constituents through his created media arm. He has also sought support from other mayors.

There is an allegation of power play, one that was mandated by the president. While there is no evidence to prove this, we must look critically at the issue. The residents of Cebu City do not deserve to be played around. They should be able to avail of services regardless of political affiliation, among others. This is also a time for department heads and other key officials in the local government unit to reflect on their brand of service.

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