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Wrong changing of guards

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 Cebu media where Osmeña 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.

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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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