Labella: P20,000 calamity aid was legal

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Sunday, July 6, 2014


CEBU City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella clarified yesterday that the P20,000 calamity assistance the City Government gave last year to all its employees and officials is not illegal, despite the complaint they are facing before the Office of the President.

“Filing the case against us is like filing cases against all our employees who received the assistance,” Labella said in an interview.

He said several government agencies like the Department of Education (DepEd) have extended calamity aid to its personnel when two calamities hit the country last year.

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In a text message sent to Sun.Star Cebu, Labella cited DepEd Memorandum No. 027 that covered the distribution of calamity assistance ranging from P30,000 up to P100,000.

Even Congress, Labella added, extended calamity aid when typhoon Ondoy hit the country few years ago.

The vice mayor, who was the presiding officer when the resolution covering the grant and the budget appropriation ordinance were passed, said the financial assistance went through the right process.

Last year, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda hit Cebu, prompting the City to extend financial help.

Though the employees were not severely affected, the two calamities affected parts of Cebu.

Mayor Michael Rama, along with Labella and 12 councilors, were impleaded in an administrative complaint for grave misconduct and abuse of authority filed by lawyer Reymelio Delute.

In his complaint, Delute said the appropriation was illegal and the officials fabricated calamity victims, including themselves, to avail themselves of the financial assistance.

Councilors Mary Ann de los Santos, Nestor Archival Sr., Dave Tumulak, Nendell Hans Abella, Sisinio Andales, Alvin Arcilla, Roberto Cabarrubias, Nida Cabrera, Alvin Dizon, Eugenio Gabuya Jr. and Noel Eleuterio Wenceslao were also impleaded in the case.

Of the 18 city councilors, only Margarita Osmeña, Lea Japson, Richard Osmeña and James Cuenco were not included in the complaint.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 07, 2014.

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