Protest raised vs. Cebu City Hall consultant

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Friday, August 29, 2014


AN ISSUE on conflict of interest is being raised against the spokesperson of Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) who, at the same time, serves as the Cebu City Government’s consultant.

Councilor Margarita Osmeña said Cerwin Eviota is working for two entities that have dealings with each other.

“He is representing the City and he is representing FLI. While it is his prerogative (to have the two jobs), but maybe he should choose,” she said.

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Eviota is among the 18 consultants of the Office of the Mayor. He works as the consultant for development communications and training as well as that of the Public Information Office.

Like all consultants of the City, Eviota is receiving P18,000 in monthly salary.

In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Osmeña pointed out that Eviota was the one speaking on behalf of FLI when the City had an “issue” with the company over the payment of the City’s share from the sale of the condominium units at the South Road Properties (SRP).

FLI is developing a 40-ha. property at the SRP in a joint venture with the City. The City have a 10 percent share from the proceeds.

FLI earlier put on hold their remittance of the City’s share as they want to reconcile first the accounting records of the City with theirs.

The City billed them P803 million last March. In May, though, FLI settled the amount and paid P607 million to the City.

Aside from this, Osmeña said Eviota has been speaking on behalf of FLI over its road dispute with the Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corporation about W. Geonzon St. in Barangay Apas.

Ethics

Republic Act (RA) 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, states that “conflict of interest arises when a public official or employee is a member of a board, an officer, or a substantial stockholder of a private corporation or owner of a business, and the interest of such corporation or business may be opposed to or affected by the faithful performance of official duty.”

Sought for comment about the matter, Eviota said there is no conflict of interest in his two jobs.

“Conflict of interest applies between competing or opposing brands or entities, not those that rather complement as in the case of the City and FLI,” he said in a statement sent to Sun.Star Cebu.

“Working for FLI, by that principle, makes us serve no other firms in its category as a developer of high-stake properties. In the same breath, we only serve the mayor and his office,” he added.

He said it is only the mayor who can decide if there is any conflict of interest in his two jobs.

Case

Rama, in a separate interview, said there is only conflict of interest in Eviota’s job if there are cases involving FLI and the City and Eviota will serve as spokesperson of FLI.

Eviota’s consultancy contract with the City covers January to July this year. The renewal of his contract is expected to be forwarded by the executive department to the City Council for their concurrence in the next few weeks.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 29, 2014.

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