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Davide is acting Cebu City mayor

Osmeña in US, Rama off to Korea First Posted 13:46:00 10/10/2008

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CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and his wife Margot arrived safely in New York yesterday morning.

Nagiel Bañacia, the city?s public information officer, said Margot called up yesterday to inform them about their arrival in the United States.

Bañacia said the couple is staying in an apartment owned by the mayor?s sister, Maria Victoria ?Minnie? Osmeña-Stewart in New York.

Bañacia said Margot informed them that the mayor immediately took a rest after arriving in New York.

There was no information yet as to when the mayor would go to a medical specialist to have the mass found in his urinary bladder examined.
With Mayor Osmeña in the United States and Vice Mayor Michael Rama leaving for an official business to South Korea yesterday, Councilor Hilario Davide III takes over as acting mayor, according to Bañacia.

Bañacia said the operation in City Hall remains normal despite the absence of the two top city leaders since the city government?s systems are already in place.

?We have normal operation; business as usual,? Bañacia said.

Bañacia said the mayor only gave specific instruction to them to pay close attention to any dealing involving the South Road Properties (SRP).
Bañacia however refused to expound, saying this matter was ?confidential in nature? at this time.

Before the mayor left, he stressed that even if he would be going through medical treatment in the US, he would continue to closely monitor and would remain hands on in matters involving the SRP, especially now that the city has received a proposal from Fil-invest Land Inc.'s (FLI) to develop a mix-use commercial and high-end housing enclave worth P80 billion at SRP under a joint venture arrangement with the Cebu city government.

The mayor was particularly concerned over possible moves by his political enemies to sabotage the project while he was away.

One of the mayor?s political adversaries, former senator John ?Sonny? Osmeña, the mayor?s estranged cousin, clarified in a statement yesterday that he ?never had any intention, nor would have any intention? to stop whatever project the mayor has at the SRP.

With the city spending most of its resources on servicing the SRP debt while neglecting health and other services, ?I want the Filinvest project to push through. I want the SRP to finally make money,? said the former senator.

?The people of the city are paying a high price for that SRP. Barangays are forced to use their own funds to collect garbage, a responsibility normally assumed by the city, as far as I can recall. Health care has been sacrificed. In fact, Tommy (the mayor) wants to sell the Cebu City Hospital (Cebu City Medical Center). The city?s Internal Revenue Allotment, designed and intended for agriculture, health and social services, are now being diverted to service the SRP debt,? the former senator said.

The former senator also pointed out that for the last two years, he had stayed quiet even if the mayor ?claimed that investors were lining up outside and elbowing their way into the SRP.?

?While there may be some legal questions that have to be settled, it is something that he, and any investors, should welcome,? he said. /Correspondent Jhunnex Napallacan

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