The truth about Mayor Mike's suspension

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Josephus Jimenez - The Freeman

The one truth that we should all remember is that the good and kind mayor of Cebu City, Michael Lopez Rama, was not suspended because of plunder, not even because of dishonesty. The truth was that Mayor Mike was suspended because three employees did not receive their salaries due to their conflicts with their immediate superior.

Mayor Mike, after so many years in politics, is just renting a small and simple house. Unlike many local executives who own mansions and yachts, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Maseratis and and even helicopters, (like that highly controversial mayor of the remote town of Bamban, Tarlac), Mayor Mike remains a poor and unsophisticated man. He never abused his powers, much less amassed billions from the tremendous powers and influence of his office. His Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN would make one wonder why he is still poor, while lesser mayors of smaller cities have already joined the sacred and secret fraternities of the rich and the famous.

The mayor of Quezon City, Joy Belmonte, who is a top elected officer of the League of Cities of the Philippines, has issued a strong statement of support declaring her faith in the integrity and honesty of Mayor Mike. Many other local executives also expressed their unwavering faith in Mayor Mike's unimpeachable rectitude. He is just an unfortunate man who is a victim of circumstances. He never oppresses small-time employees who do not belong to his level of stature. He was blinded by some underlings who had conflict with their subordinates. Those who know the mayor well enough would never believe that he is capable of oppression.

To be suspended without even being briefed about what this is all about is the greatest pain of all. To be deprived of an office to which he was elected by the overwhelming majority of his constituents is most unfortunate, unkind and even oppressive. It is the one who is being charged with oppression who is himself the victim of oppression. He is not allowed to exercise the powers and prerogatives of his office not for 30 days, not for 60 days, not even for 0 days but for six months or for more than 180 days. He is deprived of his salaries, allowances and other emoluments and compensation as the duly elected city mayor who has done so much for his city and for his people.

As a lawyer, as a former HR Manager, and as duly accredited by DOLE as labor voluntary arbitrator, it is so painful for a man who administers justice to become a victim of a great injustice. In 2014, I, as the National President of PMAP or the People Management Association of the Philippines, the premier official association of all HR managers and HR vice presidents nationwide, awarded Mayor Mike the first ever coveted award as the Most Outstanding People Manager in the public sector. The choice of Mayor Mike was done by a high caliber committee of eminent professionals chaired by former Secretary Sonny Coloma.

One of these days, justice will prevail and Mayor Mike shall finally experience a vindication. They can never put a good man down. Albeit the damage has already been done and he suffers in silence, there is a greater power up there who knows the truth and understands the meaning of it all. When that day comes, the just will have his reward and the evil ones their punishment.

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