What to make of Team Rama

By: Stephen D. Capillas September 01,2016 - 09:09 PM

Probably a lot of people saw it coming ever since he announced it but still, supporters of former Cebu City mayor Michael Rama may have been disheartened to learn about him being excluded from the lineup of local politicians and incumbent officials who were sworn in as members of the PDP-Laban in Cebu.

Anyone who remembered that emotional press conference—not that emotional since no tears were shed but one can sense the sadness and despair on the mayor’s followers and those close to or loyal to him—at the Rama compound remembered how he mentioned plans by Team Rama to join PDP-Laban.

Now that his allies from the City Council down to the barangay officials have jumped ship from the largely dismantled United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)–at least in this part of the country—to PDP-Laban, perhaps a name change is in order?

Maybe Rama or his allies can change the party name to Partido Pinaghiusa as the former mayor dubbed it before or it would go by another name to be decided by whoever is leading the largely dominant political opposition bloc in the council.

Regardless of how things eventually turned out, the former mayor still had a six year run and that’s something. Rama’s victory over his erstwhile mentor, and now tormentor, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña was unexpected even if it was a small margin of 5,000 to 6,000 votes.

But it was a rocky six years at the helm of Cebu City Hall, two and a half of which were marked by his staying as a loyal lieutenant to Osmeña amid doubts raised by the mayor’s allies.

Pardon to all Rama followers if I talk about the former mayor in the political past tense but given the weight of the accusations leveled against him by President Duterte, Rama has quite the mountain to climb in order not only to clear his name but to erase any suspicions and doubts of his innocence.

At least he can count himself blessed that his family and some loyalists are sticking with him in this hour of crisis. Who knows, he may even disprove his critics and naysayers wrong.

* * *

Which brings us anew to the question of who will lead Cebu City’s mostly dominant opposition—at least based on their number in the council and the number of barangay officials in their fold–now that Rama is out of the “kulambo” (mosquito net) at least for now.

In a June 3, 2016 piece I wrote entitled “Who Will Lead Cebu City’s Opposition?” that appeared here in Cebu Daily News, I mentioned several people as probably taking a leadership role though I won’t discount the possibility of Rama still being active even if in a background capacity.

By virtue of his position, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella can take the lead but it remains to be seen if the rest of the bloc formerly known as Team Rama will follow him with the same level of loyalty like what Rama used to command.

Will it be Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera? But the question in some people’s minds would be is she liked well enough by barangay officials for them to throw their support behind her?

What about Councilor Philip Zafra? The Association of Barangay Captains president is no pushover and was among the first to voice and mobilize support to the city police when Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña dropped the cash rewards and ordered the recall of city issued firearms and vehicles to protest the transfer of Cebu police officials he deemed instrumental in the fall of several top level drug dealers in the province.

Then there is the dark horse, Councilor Raymond Garcia, a former barangay official turned councilor who may not enjoy popular support among barangay officials and city residents for now but whose family name is well known in Cebu’s political landscape.

Regardless of who among them would emerge as leader, they can count on the support of presidential assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino, who posed in front along with other officials during the PDP-Laban’s swearing-in ceremonies led by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez last week.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, Cebu City Council, PDP Laban, political party, politics, Team Rama

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.