Too early to gloat
Reporting that Sonny has been ordered suspended and seeing him actually dispossessed of office are two entirely different things
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. ”