SOME Cebu City officials will attend today’s continuation of the House inquiry on the controversial mixed garbage from South Korea that was shipped to Cebu last January.
Although invited, Mayor Tomas Osmeña is not attending the congressional hearing for the second time in a row.
Roberto Cabarrubias, chief of the Department of Public Services, will instead attend on the mayor’s behalf.
“I have a schedule. The investor of Kawit Island is coming and I have to talk to start negotiations. The P18 billion development is important. The Cebuanos come first, bahala na si Tomas,” Osmeña said.
The issue made headlines earlier this year after the Bureau of Customs (BOC) discovered that around 5,000 metric tons or five million kilograms of mixed waste were delivered to a warehouse in Barangay Guizo, Mandaue City and at an open dumpsite in Barangay Tingub, also in Mandaue.
More than a week after the Mandaue City Government found out about the irregular disposal of plastics in Barangay Tingub, the waste was hauled and sent back to Jeju, South Korea last Feb. 18.
However, Osmeña’s name was dragged into the controversy after a certain Felix Lopez Jr. alleged that the mayor, former councilor Augustus “Jun” Pe, BOC-Cebu deputy collector for operations Rico Rey Francis Holganza, a certain Mr. Choi, Edmund Roxas and some Customs personnel and Koreans conspired to dump the garbage at the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill.
The mayor, Pe and Holganza have since denied any alleged involvement in the matter. In his news conference yesterday, Osmeña said that the House committee on ecology should substantiate the allegations against them.
For one, Holganza was no longer a collector even before the shipment of the trash was made from Korea, he said.
“But if they come up with something, let them file their case and I will defend it in court. Frankly speaking, I have no knowledge. I don’t even know how it ended up in Mandaue,” Osmeña said.
Councilor Joel Garganera, who will be attending the House probe for the second time, said he will be there to clarify any report of his alleged participation in the drafting of the letter, which was sent to President Rodrigo Duterte. He has also denied knowing anyone named Felix Lopez Jr.
Osmeña had earlier suspected that Garganera had a hand in the allegation as it was the councilor who had filed the writ of kalikasan before the Court of Appeals, which led to the closure of the Inayawan facility.
“It could’ve been better if the mayor is there so that he will be there to respond to the questions,” Garganera said. (RTF)
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on November 21, 2017.
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