Richie ‘unduly held’ race fund

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Friday, May 16, 2014


AN ORGANIZER of sports events has filed a complaint before Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella against City Councilor Richard Osmeña and two others for refusing to release P300,000 that was supposed to fund the first South Road Properties (SRP) midnight marathon held in Cebu City last March 2 yet.

Jeson Guardo, president of G-Concept, said that P300,000 out of the P400,000 needed for the event was “unduly withheld” despite the organizer’s repeated follow-up.

Included in the complaint are Acting City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas and Rainer Ramos of the Cebu City Sports Commission.

In a copy of the letter-complaint obtained by Sun.Star Cebu, Guardo said the P400,000-budget needed for the marathon was approved by the City Council last Jan. 23.

Guardo said that of the total amount, Osmeña released only P100,000 to G-Concept last March 3.

Osmeña, who chairs the council’s committee on games, amusement and sports, told him that the money came from the City Treasurer’s Office.

However, in a meeting with Cuevas on March 13, Guardo said he was told that the full amount of P400,000 had been released and received by Ramos.

Last April 28, another meeting with Osmeña, Cuevas, Ramos and Guardo was held at the office of the councilor.

During the meeting, Guardo said he was told by Cuevas that the disbursement of the P300,000 was disallowed because G-Concept failed to submit some supporting documents.

This was why only P100,000 was given to him.

By April 30, Guardo wrote a letter to Cuevas and submitted documents so the release of the remaining balance would be processed.

The documents included the approved resolution of the City Council for the event, a certificate on the availability of funds, an endorsement from the Cebu City Sports Commission and the guidelines, policies and procedures for the midnight marathon.

It also included a summary of the City Government’s Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. funds where the amount for the event was charged, the proposed budget for the event and the pictures of the awarding of winners of the marathon.

“Despite my repeated follow ups, both written and verbal, the city treasurer, Councilor Osmeña and Ramos failed, neglected and refused and continue to fail, refuse to pay and release the outstanding balance of P300,000 without just and valid grounds to my continued damage and prejudice,” Guardo said.

Sun.Star Cebu tried to get a statement from Osmeña and Ramos but they could not be reached for comment yesterday. Repeated calls to Ramos were also not answered.

Last Monday, the City Council held a closed-door executive session to discuss the matter with Guardo, Cuevas, Ramos and Osmeña.

Asked what was discussed, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that the P300,000 was not released because G-Concept still has to liquidate the P100,000 that was given to them.

This was confirmed by Cuevas, in a separate interview.

Because of this, the council then required G-Concept to submit a liquidation report as soon as possible so the balance will be released.

Sun.Star Cebu interviewed several councilors about the issue, but they all declined to comment. They said that they agreed during the executive session to designate Labella as the only spokesperson for this issue.

Asked what he would do with Guardo’s letter-complaint, Labella said the executive session was already an offshoot of the complaint.

Sun.Star Cebu learned that the City Attorney’s Office is investigating the complaints against Cuevas and Ramos.

Osmeña is not included in the investigation since the City Attorney’s Office has no jurisdiction over elected officials.

Labella said that he also doesn’t have a disciplinary authority over any member of the legislative body as such power is delegated to the Office of the President or the Office of the Ombudsman.

If Guardo wants to pursue his complaint, Labella said it should be filed before the Office of the President or the Office of the Ombudsman.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 16, 2014.

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