Loyalty checkCebu Daily News
It was patently obvious but it was no less disconcerting to see Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama demanding loyalty from Cebu City Hall employees and department chiefs last Monday following his announcement that he will leave the Liberal Party (LP) after it anointed his rival, Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district as its mayoralty bet for next year’s elections.
The mayor made no bones about his announcement. He said he won’t renew the work contracts of casuals and will reassign employees to different departments if he senses them campaigning for the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK).
That’s strong-arm tactics on the eve of a bruising election.
Osmeña cried foul, but hasn’t he exacted that kind of loyalty himself in City Hall during his term as mayor and in the ranks of BO-PK?
Rama may be desperate, but his so-called “reality check” pales in comparison to the charges he filed before the Ombudsman-Visayas against the congressman for holding on to US Dodge Chargers sedans that were supposed to be donated to the city, after extended use in mayor Osmeña’s SRP security force.
While the investigation is ongoing, the mayor is circling the wagons and making sure that his top lieutenants in City Hall are behind him in his re-election bid. This candidacy is one Osmeña declared to be all but doomed based on his confident pronouncements of what he’d do once—not if—he gets elected anew as city mayor.
The mayor is walking a very fine line between an unfriendly warning about the Civil Servce Code ban on government employees engaging in partisan politics and outright harassment.
Reassigning “disloyal” employees may not violate the law per se while not renewing contracts of casuals is easy to get away as part of the mayor’s prerogative.
Otherwise the mayor’s methods are, as he himself admitted, part of the political reality that he has to deal with.
Rama, in his desperation, affirms his predecessor’s influence which extends beyond Cebu City to the halls of Congress and even the Palace as shown by his quick anointing as Liberal Party Cebu City chairman over the card-bearing Liberal, Mayor Rama.
So long as Rama doesn’t go overboard and fire employees for no apparent reason other than they show up in BO-PK meetings —or reassign them to dead-end jobs with no hope of promotion or reinstatement to jobs they are shown to be proficient at—then Cebu City residents can sit back and watch the fur fly in the election season.
The political battle began a long time ago.
With the filing of certificates of candidacy, it just became official.
More from this Column:
- Cleaning up
- For Cebu City in three years
- Plugging the holes
- Fall of (some of ) Cebu’s old guard
- Enhancing notoriety