Rama eager to undergo investigation to prove Duterte wrong
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama didn’t know what hit him. Speaking to reporters on Sunday morning, he said he was dumbfounded when he learned that he was among the drug coddlers named by President Rodrigo Duterte. He didn’t expect to be on the list.
“I’m very much saddened about what the President uttered. In my own view, it’s very much untrue. I am not a drug addict. The more I can’t be a pusher, worse a drug protector,” he said in a press conference at the Rama Compound in Cebu City past 10 a.m. “Who I am to protect? I didn’t even have much control of the chief of police and the regional director when I was mayor,” he added. Rama said he would present himself to an investigation to prove that he was never a drug coddler. “I’ve always maintained to be a law-abiding citizen, standing by the rule of law. Wherever they ask me to be at, I’ll be there. I’m very much eager to undergo an investigation to clear the air of doubts and so that justice and truth will prevail,” he said. “Just tell me where I will go and I’ll be there. I don’t have any helicopter or jet plane. So I’ll just have to buy an ordinary plane ticket,” he added.
Rama said he was sound asleep when his family and friends knocked on the door of his room Sunday dawn to inform him that he was among those named drug coddler by Duterte. While he was hurt by the accusations, he said he would continue to support Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs. Asked if he fears for his life now that he’s been identified by the President, Rama said: “I can go out without any security. I can drive alone. I just need your prayers.”
During the press conference, Rama appeared teary-eyed while acting Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella and about 30 barangay captains joined him in his residence. “Imagine you put yourselves here. What will you feel? But this is part of my buhing kalbarayo (Life of Calvary in the Passion of Christ). This is a challenge in my life. God is always there,” he said. “Some of my supporters were asking ‘Where is God?’ But don’t say that. Keep praying. Let us pray for our city, the nation, and our President,” he added.
Rama, who was mayor from 2010 to 2016, lost to his arch nemesis, Tomas Osmeña, who won by more than 30,000 votes in the mayoral race. Osmeña, a cancer survivor, is now in the United States for a medical check-up. Rama’s running mate, now acting Mayor Labella, said he too was surprised with the inclusion of Rama on the list. “I’m shocked and deeply saddened. I know him to be God-fearing and a law-abiding citizen. The President could be wrong. It was a list just given to him,” he said.