Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has caused so much damage to the city and must go, said former mayor Tomas Osmeña.

“He calls me his mentor kuno. So the mentor is entitled to give you a grade, di ba? I will give him a grade from 1 to 10, with 10 being very good and 1 bati gyud (really bad). His grade? Minus 3.” Osmeña told reporters in a press conference held Saturday afternoon at Eddie’s Log Cabin Restaurant in Cebu City.

Tomas not running for election

Osmeña also said he is not running for mayor against his former vice mayor but would support anyone who runs against him.

“The only thing that comes to my mind is that Rama must go. He must go. Anyone who will run against him I will support,” Osmeña told reporters.

“Even if it’s a Garcia?” a reporter asked.

“I’ve made that very clear,” said Osmeña.

Bisag muukontra niya si (Vice Mayor) Raymond Alvin Garcia, mu-support ka?” another reporter asked. There are unconfirmed reports that Garcia would run for mayor.

“Anyone, bisag akong iro mubotar ko. I’m not joking ha. I would rather vote for my dog than Rama. I’ll tell you why, ang akong dog dili mangawat,” Osmeña said. (Even my dog because my dog doesn’t steal.)

RAMA MUST GO. Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said Mayor Michael Rama, who once served as his vice mayor, has caused so much damage to Cebu City and must go. Osmeña said in a press conference he would support anyone who runs against Rama in the next elections.
RAMA MUST GO. Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said Mayor Michael Rama, who once served as his vice mayor, has caused so much damage to Cebu City and must go. Osmeña said in a press conference he would support anyone who runs against Rama in the next elections.

Rama begged off from commenting on Osmeña’s statements to the media when contacted by The Freeman.

The former mayor said he has learned his lesson working with Rama, who was his vice mayor. “It’s a waste of time.”

He said Rama “already screwed up so many things” and should not be in City Hall.

“Do Cebuanos a favor, kill yourself. Go jump in the lake,” the former mayor said during the press conference.

NUSTAR agreement advantageous to Cebu City

Osmeña called for the hastily organized press conference last Saturday to discuss the joint venture agreement on the NUSTAR project after the release late last week of the decision by the Office of the Ombudsman to dismiss the administrative and criminal charges filed against him and other former and current Cebu City Government officials as well as officials of the Gokongwei group.

The former mayor described the agreement as advantageous for the city because it simplified the collection of revenues by pegging it at 10 percent of the gross rentals revenue. He said that with the agreement, collection is not only easier, it is more transparent for Cebu City and makes the local government earn even if the Gokongwei group doesn’t, since it is pegged on the gross amount. It will also ensure that the city benefits from the growth in revenues of the Gokongwei group. (More details in upcoming story.)

Osmeña said he called for the press conference to report to Cebu City residents what is happening in Cebu City.

The Ombudsman decision offered an opportunity to put the NUSTAR agreement “under a microscope” to show how advantageous it is for the city and the creative ways done to protect the city’s interest in what Osmeña described as a one-of-a-kind deal.

“You have leaders who don’t like to listen. They just like to talk. Talk and talk and talk. We will be another Singapore…Look at Basak San Nicolas he’s been mayor for so long… is it like Singapore? You think that he cannot make Basak like Singapore, he can make Capitol like Singapore, he can make any barangay like Singapore?” Osmeña said. Basak San Nicolas is the bailiwick of the Rama clan.

The former mayor said Rama reversed the gains he had been working for Cebu for decades.

“You look at the 50 hectares we lost to SM and Ayala because of Mike Rama. You get one hectare that’s P6 billion, all our college students can go to medical school. Another hectare, all our high school students can go to college. Another hectare even the grade school will have laptops. That’s what we lost.”

“I’m not interested in clearing my name, I’m okay. That’s what we lost and that’s why I said, what did I do all my work for if it’s only going to end up like this?” Osmena said.

The former mayor also recounted how his opponents criticized and insulted him over the South Road Properties or SRP.

P6 billion for SRP vs. P3 billion for CCMC

“He cannot even open CCMC (Cebu City Medical Center). I spent P6 billion on the SRP, I have 300 hectares to show. Unsa iyang pakita sa P3 billion?” Osmeña said. (What can he show for P3 billion?)

“Ten years ago he said by next year we’ll have the best hospital in Cebu. Ten years ago. There’s no hope. Musumbong lang ko sa mga tawo. There’s no hope,” he said. (I just want to report to the people.)

Osmeña also cited the Bus Rapid Transit system as a project that was bungled in its implementation. He recalled how it was opposed by Rama, the late mayor Edgardo Labella, former Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino, and former Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade. Osmeña said he had to fight for the project, which was nearly canceled during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

From his plan to make it easier for people in Talamban in the north and Bulacao in the south to commute in the city, the route was shortened.

“They cut it down from 25 kilometers to 12 kilometers. Para klaro, there is overpricing, because it’s the same amount. And now it’s no longer Bulacao, it’s no longer Talamban. It’s SM Seaside to Ayala. Haa? Who benefits? The friends of Rama…Ayala and SM. There is nobody who lives in SM Seaside,” Osmeña said.

Max Limpag is a journalist, blogger, and developer based in Cebu. He started as a reporter covering Cebu City Hall in 1996. He has written on technology for various print and digital publications since...