Wrong chang­ing of guards

The Freeman - - OPINION -

Each time a fresh set of honor guards take po­si­tion out­side Buck­ing­ham Palace in Lon­don, Eng­land, and at the mon­u­ment of Dr. Jose Rizal in Manila, the ac­tiv­ity is more than just a marvel. It projects pres­tige and re­spectabil­ity. Mil­i­tary pre­ci­sion, crisp move­ments, and ca­dence char­ac­ter­ize the rit­ual uni­formed men do at des­ig­nated hours of the day. This is a phys­i­cal ex­em­pli­fi­ca­tion of the id­iomatic ex­pres­sion "chang­ing of the guards."

We are at a loom­ing "chang­ing of guards" at the Cebu City gov­ern­ment. It is pos­si­ble that Mayor To­mas Os­meña may have run out of pos­i­tive and de­vel­op­men­tal lead­er­ship ideas. Look at the things he has been do­ing lately and you can see how bank­rupt his bul­ly­ing ways are. I can­not seen any no­bil­ity in his an­nounced con­flict with a le­chon dealer. Can his ac­tion against a bank ben­e­fit even the low­est-paid em­ployee of that com­pany? When he or­dered the clo­sure of a hard­ware shop, did he think of the wel­fare of the thou­sands fed by that em­ployer? Af­ter over 20 years lead­ing the city, he has no more tricks left and that is why he is seen less and less each day.

It is there­fore not sur­pris­ing that Os­meña may have de­cided to pass the ba­ton. In­deed he might have al­ready cho­sen his suc­ces­sor. I say this in the light of his di­min­ish­ing public ap­pear­ances and the in­creas­ing as­sertive­ness of his prob­a­ble heir to play the role of city mayor. From the looks of it, Vice Mayor Edgardo La­bella is not the anointed one.

In his life time His Em­i­nence Ri­cardo Car­di­nal Vi­dal cast a gi­ant shadow. Most gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials revered him. So af­ter he died, we were af­fected. It was a good thing that as we mourned, there was Deputy Mayor (erst­while coun­cilor) Dave Tu­mu­lak. He, more than any of­fi­cial, co­or­di­nated with the church so that we could do ev­ery­thing to as­cer­tain that we ac­corded Vi­dal the re­spect he so richly de­served.

A ter­ri­ble con­fla­gra­tion hit a depart­ment store few days ago. Aside from a fleet­ing meet­ing with Ce bu me­dia where Os meña an­nounced his plan to ban high-rise build­ings, he never had any in­put in the man­age­ment of fire con­trol ef­forts. His ab­sence from ac­tion was glar­ing. Tu­mu­lak, with the ob­vi­ous bless­ing of Os­meña, was the cen­tral fig­ure in the two-day long fire. He out Heroded-Herod in his reg­u­lar press brief­ing.

I am re­ally amazed at the all-around com­pe­tence of Tu­mu­lak. Only last Fri­day, he filled us in on the de­tails of the city's plan on how the Grand Pa­rade will un­fold. He made me smile af­ter he said se­nior cit­i­zens (like me), preg­nant women and per­sons with dis­abil­ity shall be pro­vided el­e­vated stands along R.R. Lan­don Street for us to en­joy the spec­ta­cle. In times past, only Os­meña had the author­ity to re­veal Sin­u­log in­for­ma­tion.

But if Os­meña be­lieves that in leav­ing to Tu­mu­lak many ex­ec­u­tive func­tions he is do­ing a cor­rect "chang­ing of guards", he is dead wrong on two counts. He is short­chang­ing us, Ce­buano vot­ers. We elected him as mayor and not as a passer of work. At the same time, Os­meña, by putting ex­ec­u­tive work on the shoul­ders of Tu­mu­lak, de­prives the lat­ter the priv­i­lege of do­ing his job. Be­cause of the over­whelm­ing tasks, he has not done, truth to tell, any sub­stan­tive leg­isla­tive mea­sure. It seems all his time is con­sumed in act­ing like a mayor.

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