Tomas ‘waives’ House immunity to probe on his use of gift cars-A A +A
Saturday, September 15, 2012
THE Dodge Charger vehicle that was made to look like a local police car will be repainted, said Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) yesterday.
This, as Osmeña said he is ready to face the Office of the Ombudsman’s fact-finding investigation on the propriety of his use of the vehicle, which is marked “Cebu City Police” and bears the seal of the Cebu City Government.
Osmeña, in a news conference yesterday he called in his house in Barangay Guadalupe, said he will even waive his congressional immunity so all questions against his use of the vehicle will be answered.
“Until the last question is asked, I will not stop answering it. I am not trying to brush this away from public view,” he said.
The President, Vice President, senators and congressman have immunity against suits so their duties in public office won’t be hampered.
Osmeña said he has not violated any provisions of Republic Act (RA) 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
The law prohibits public officials from soliciting or accepting gifts in the course of their official duties, as it may affect the functions of their office.
As stated in Section 7 of the RA 6713, Osmeña pointed out that the prohibition is applicable only during the incumbency of the official and will continue to apply for a period of one year after separation from public office.
Given that he really accepted the vehicles from Bigfoor Entertainment chairman Michael Gleissner, Osmeña said he has not violated the provision of the law since the two dodge charger vehicles, one of which looks like a police car, was only given to him and later bought by his sister Maria Victoria “Minnie” Osmeña this year.
“The law is very clear. After one year it’s okay. I can say give me anything I want.
If he (Gleissner) had given those cars to me, it would still have been legal because I am not city mayor anymore. This is why I said sue me. Klaro kaayo na,” he said.
The cars were supposed to be donated to the City when Osmeña was still mayor in 2009, but Gleissner reportedly decided to give these to him instead, after learning that his term as mayor would end in 2010.
Yesterday, Osmeña, who said the controversy is affecting him politically, said the vehicle that looks like a police car will be repainted. The other car has been repainted white.
He said it was supposed to be repainted blue last June before the controversy broke out, but he decided to put off the plan, saying Guadalupe Barangay Captain Michael Gacasan wants to use the vehicle in a procession.
But Osmeña said the car was not used in the procession, adding it was repaired.
“There was no intention to keep the police marking there,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2012.