Supporters rally behind their leaders

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita, Michelle Joy L. Padayhag December 15,2016 - 10:13 PM


As allies of former mayor Michael Rama came to his defense amid accusations by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña that he received P10 million in drug money from slain drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, the incumbent mayor said he wasn’t threatened by the libel suit his bitter political enemy plans to file against him.

“Fine, let him charge me. Maybe the reason he wanted to file is so I will no longer talk about it,” Osmeña told reporters in a press conference inside his office yesterday.

“He (Rama) swore in a drug lord to United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). Is that not protecting a drug lord? Talking about (Rolando) Espinosa, he recruited Espinosa to UNA,” the mayor said.

Osmeña said when Kerwin Espinosa, son of slain Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., testified during the Senate hearings, he admitted that he delivered drugs in Cebu, “which includes (Barangays) Ermita, Duljo-Fatima, Suba, and Lorega San Miguel.”

“If it’s only one, then maybe it’s only coincidence. But if you see all of that, there is a pattern. You cannot ignore the pattern anymore. If you put all dots together, that spells Mike Rama,” he said.

But Team Rama councilors say it should be Osmeña who should explain his links to Jaguar.

“P10 million is a huge amount. How did he get this figure? If indeed Mike received protection money from Jaguar, why did Team Rama lose badly in Duljo-Fatima in the last two elections?” said Councilor James Anthony Cuenco.

“Until concrete evidence is presented, such accusation will remain to be perceived as lame and preposterous,” Cuenco added.

Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, for his part, recalled that it was Osmeña who admitted to having been offered money by Jaguar.

“Mayor Rama’s name was never associated with Jaguar. It was Tomas Osmeña who admitted to being offered money by Jaguar for the elections.

Furthermore, Jaguar campaigned for Osmeña in the 2013 and 2016 elections. So tell me, who has ties with Jaguar, Rama or Osmeña?” Garcia said.


Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera shared the same sentiments.

“I remember that Tomas Osmeña admitted to have been offered money by Jaguar so he should be the one to prove that he did not receive the money,” Pesquera said.

“Mayor Osmeña should also reveal who facilitated the visit of Jaguar at his residence and why, in the first place, he allowed it to happen,” she added.

But when the mayor was asked where he got the information about Rama’s alleged P10 million drug money, he admitted it was second hand information.

“That was just told to me. But I don’t want to expose my source. But I will ask maybe Ren Bor (Rene Borromeo, Banat News Editor) or someone to interview the person to ask the details of what you want,” Osmeña told reporters.

Osmeña also accused National Police Commission (Napolcom) Director Homer Cabaral as a top drug protector, but admitted he had no evidence against Cabaral except circumstantial evidence.

“But you know, you are the head of Napolcom-7. And you lived in the same barangay where the biggest drug lord in Cebu City lives. Something is wrong. He does not do anything about it. But that is not enough to establish a criminal offense, but there is definitely a responsibility. So now I am asking, what did you do about it?” he told the reporters.

BO-PK allies

Osmeña’s staunch supporter, Councilor Sisinio Andales, said he believes the mayor has sufficient basis for his accusations.

“If Mayor Tommy made the statement as accurately alleged by you, I believe Mayor Tommy might have factual basis, then the public deserves to know it,” Andales told Cebu Daily News, adding that Rama should not be “onion-skinned” and a “crybaby”.

BO-PK allied councilor Joy Augustus Young said he heard about the allegations against Rama several times.

“I have heard that story many times. It must be true. People also in Duljo-Fatima say Cabaral and Jaguar knew each other. It’s impossible for them not to know each other,” he said.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya, on the other hand, said he no longer cares whether Rama is involved with Jaguar or not.

Instead, he suggested that Rama clear himself with President Rodrigo Duterte who named him as a drug lord protector.

Osmeña, meanwhile, said Rama’s refusal to undergo a lie detector test with him is an indication that he is hiding something.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, Duljo-Fatima, Ermita, leader, mayor, Michael Rama, Osmeña, politics, Rama, rival, Suba, Tomas Osmeña, UNA
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