Too early to gloat

Re­port­ing that Sonny has been or­dered sus­pended and see­ing him ac­tu­ally dis­pos­sessed of of­fice are two en­tirely dif­fer­ent things

Sun.Star Cebu - - OPINION - FRANK MALILONG fm­mali­long@ya­hoo.com

Cebu’s English dailies car­ried iden­ti­cal head­lines on their front pages yes­ter­day. Sonny Os­meña is top of the news again. He has been sus­pended by the Om­buds­man for sup­posed grave abuse of au­thor­ity.

Sonny, like Cebu City Mayor Tommy, is not a stranger to con­tro­versy. The cousins thrive on it. Some­times, they even seem to seek it. And they do not like each other and don’t even at­tempt to hide it.

The sus­pen­sion or­der is the first for Sonny, which is quite a feat con­sid­er­ing the many en­e­mies he has ac­cu­mu­lated and the quar­rels he had fought, at times, even ini­ti­ated. I in­ter­viewed him on Franka­hay Ta two months ago and one of the things that he said struck me as prob­a­bly the se­cret to his longevity: never trust any­one.

The longevity, in Sonny’s case, is now be­ing threat­ened. News­pa­per re­ports say Sonny is be­ing pun­ished for with­hold­ing the re­lease of the share in the real prop­erty taxes to barangay Daan­lung­sod for one year and a half. He did not steal the money, in fact Sonny said he kept it safe. Ap­par­ently, the Om­buds­man was not im­pressed. Not only has he been or­dered tem­po­rar­ily re­lieved from of­fice, he will also fac­ing crim­i­nal charges.

Re­port­ing that Sonny has been or­dered sus­pended and see­ing him ac­tu­ally dis­pos­sessed of of­fice are two en­tirely dif­fer­ent things, how­ever. He has an ar­se­nal of reme­dies at his dis­posal and he has in­di­cated that he will avail of them by say­ing that he will let his lawyers han­dle ev­ery­thing.

If we go by past ex­pe­ri­ence and prac­tice, fil­ing a mo­tion for re­con­sid­er­a­tion, and if un­avail­ing, el­e­vat­ing his case to the Court of Ap­peals and even­tu­ally the Supreme Court. The whole le­gal process could take months if not years to con­sum­mate. So sing no sad songs for Sonny Os­mena. Don’t gloat over his sus­pen­sion. He will most likely be still in of­fice for the du­ra­tion of his cur­rent term.

Also yes­ter­day, the pa­pers re­ported that Tommy Os­meña has can­celed the hon­o­rar­ium of all the barangay work­ers of all the city’s 80 barangays. Only the garbage load­ers have been spared. Sun­Star, quot­ing As­so­ci­a­tion of Barangay Coun­cils pres­i­dent Philip Zafra, said some 3,000 em­ploy­ees will be af­fected.

Tommy’s de­ci­sion may have been shock­ing es­pe­cially to the work­ers in­volved and their fam­i­lies but it is his next move that bears watch­ing. I’m sure the mayor is aware of the dis­rup­tive im­pact of his with­drawal of fi­nan­cial aid to the barangays and their work­ers on ba­sic pub­lic ser­vices. He will not let it hap­pen or last long.

So he will re­visit his de­ci­sion with a view to re­in­stat­ing aid to those whose per­for­mance was not re­ally un­sat­is­fac­tory but only be­came col­lat­eral dam­age. Will pol­i­tics in­flu­ence his se­lec­tion? I’m sure we all know the an­swer. ”

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