Tomas: Where are the missing chickens?

FORMER Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña has kept his future political plans under wraps, saying on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021, that he does not see politics as his immediate “priority” these days.

The usually acerbic grandson of the late President Sergio Osmeña Sr., whose 143rd birth anniversary is observed on Sept. 9, said what is more important to him is the search for the “missing” 17,000 dressed chickens that were donated to the Cebu City Government.

“For the record, why is this (the upcoming elections) more important than finding out what happened to the missing chickens for hungry people?” Osmeña told SunStar Cebu.

Mayor Edgardo Labella promised in a June 2020 presser to have the issue investigated. A year has passed since the promise. The Office of the City Mayor has yet to release the results of its investigation, if there was any.

Osmeña said there are still other things that need to be prioritized aside from politics and the filing of the certificate of candidacy (COC).

The former mayor raised the 2020 issue following the announcement of his former political ally and protege Vice Mayor Michael Rama Tuesday, that he would be seeking the mayor’s post in the 2022 general elections.

Then a member of Osmeña’s party Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan, Rama ran for mayor in 2010 and won. During his first term, Rama had a falling out with Osmeña and he formed his own party, Team Rama.

In the 2013 midterm elections, Osmeña challenged Rama, but the former lost the race.

Osmeña ran again in 2016 and defeated Rama, denying the latter his third consecutive and final term.

In the 2019 midterm elections, Osmeña failed to win a fresh term after he lost the mayoral race to Edgardo Labella, the vice mayor from 2016 to 2019.

‘Missing’ chickens

As to the missing dressed chickens donated to the City by a Thai company, the issue was first raised before the City Council by Councilor Joy Augustus Young, Osmeña’s ally, in May 2020.

Young said he learned that the 17,000 dressed chickens were distributed to the barangays through the Mayor’s Information and Liaison Offices (Milos). The same Thai company donated 20,000 live chickens to the Association of Barangay Councils.

The councilor said he gathered information that Milo had been selling dressed chickens.

In June 2020, Labella promised an investigation. City Councilor Eduardo Rama Jr. later said that the dressed chickens were distributed to households in various barangays affected by granular lockdowns.

The issue was eventually buried in the news cycle and by other issues.

Three-term politicians

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has scheduled the filing of the COC from Oct. 1 to 8.

Cebu City South District Rep. Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa, in a separate interview, said he wishes to continue serving Cebu City.

Abellanosa is now in his last term as congressman, and he has yet to decide which position he will seek next year, saying it would be “in any capacity the people deemed me capable.”

“With God’s grace on my health and with the blessing of the people, I wish to continue to serve Cebu City in the best ways like I have been doing in the last 27 years,” he said.

South District City Councilor David Tumulak, meanwhile, said he is open to the possibility of running for an unspecified position in the elections to provide the Cebu City residents with another brand of leadership.

Tumulak admitted he does not have the money for the campaign, but he will work hard to provide service to the Cebuanos.

“Sa tulo ka termino managlahi nga mga mayor ato gialagaran para sa kaayuhan sa kinabag-an (For three terms, I have served under different mayors for the welfare of the public),” said Tumulak.

Tumulak is on his last term as city councilor. (JJL)