Backlash Lessons

by Juan L. Mercado

Mayor Mike Rama is “stupid”, Rep. Tomas Osmena fumes.  Councilors Edgardo Labella and Jose Daluz III are “silly  impostors”. They won’t resign from the City Council, although they’ve quit the ruling majority. 
Vice Mayor Joy Augustus agrees. Of course. Young has honed skill in seconding whatever his guru blurts, reasonable or silly.
Welcome to the 2013 campaign for City Hall launch. 

Osmena &  Co. have given notice they’ll slug at gutter level.  Their weapon of choice is  the epithet. In  so  doing, they  provided   citizens  with  an  unsolicited  glimpse into wellsprings  of their political adrenalin. “Out of the treasure of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  
Among a growing number of  Cebuanos, there  were  lingering hopes that  critical issues, confronting Cebu  in the 21st century, would be decisively  addressed.
In Barangay Ermita, for example, 13 percent of kids are ill-nourished.  Half of homes here do not have taps from  Metro Cebu Water District.  Cebu’s yen loans, which extend up to 2025, sap a quarter of the budget. In City fire engines are obsolete. In-migration swells city population at double national rates.  Floods from clogged drainage and denuded watersheds  are now a fixture. And so on.
Many hoped we could thresh out these issues, as citizens sharing hopes for our grandchildren’s future. That crimped this urgent hope.  Osmena & Retinue opted to club rivals with expletives instead.
They lack the rapier-like thrust of a Winston Churchill.  “A sheep in sheep’s clothing”, Churchill said of his rival Clement Atlee.  “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison”, Lady Nancy Astor told Churchill who  replied: “Madame If I were your husband I would take it.”

Tarring of political opponents by Tomas, Young et al. remind us of how Ferdinand Marcos tried to denigrate Corazon Aquino when she declared her candidacy for the presidency.
Walang alam, Marcos sneered Marcos on being told that publisher Joaquin “Chino” Roces and friends mustered one million signatures to prod a reluctant Corazon Aquino to run.  “What qualification does she have, except that her husband was killed?  She always stands up and asks for pity, making believe that there was no reason for her husband’s arrest.”
“True. I don’t know how to steal, cheat, lie or murder,” a once-self-effacing Cory snapped back. She went on to  lead a fractured opposition became the 14th and first woman president of the Philippines.
Aquino re-established constitutional government, ruled with integrity, spurned reelection and oversaw transition of power to successor Fidel Ramos. In private life, she become an icon.  In contrast,  Marcos embalmed corpse moulders in a Batac mausoleum today.
Osmena & Pals should heed lessons of the backlash. Labella and Daluz “know the law better than the one who claims to have a degree in agriculture,” wrote Manuel Ricafuente of Puerto Princesa to Sun Star that indirectly asks: Did Osmena ever graduate from Xavier University? 
If this continues, expect blunter personal questions on Osmena’s Statement of Assets and Liabilities, health, even bouts with alcohol. We Cebuanos could do without a slanging match.
People, Internet, trade and travel, meanwhile, shove Cebu ’s borders southwards to Carcar and northwards to Danao. Cebu must re-invent itself,” as weather events become more extreme”, cautions the Bank of the Philippine Islands and World Wild Life Philippines study.  That calls for “united political leadership that looks “beyond fences in a climate-defined future.”

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