Complaints-A A +A
Sunday, September 9, 2012
BARRING unforeseen circumstances, a concerned taxpayer in Cebu City will file a complaint today or within the week against Cebu City south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña before the Office of the Visayas-Ombudsman in connection with the congressman’s possession of two vehicles that were supposedly donated to the Cebu City Government during his term as mayor. I have the name of this taxpayer but as not to pre-empt his move, I will not mention it yet.
Aside from this issue, the same complainant will also file a series of complaints against Osmeña before the anti-graft office questioning his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) and his intervention in the Rallos case. Tomas only declared P5 million in his SALN as his net worth. This figure raised some eyebrows because they know that Tomas spent millions of pesos in his campaigns during previous elections and he sought medical treatment in the US when he was diagnosed and operated for urinary bladder cancer. He frequently goes to the US for routine medical checkups.
With his assets and with no business, many are asking how can he afford to finance these trips? Maybe his sister, the millionaire Minnie Osmeña, is footing the bill.
Tomas is also pushing for the payment of the property of the late Rev. Fr. Vicente Rallos, which was expropriated by the City Government a few years back. The financial obligation of the City to the heirs of Fr. Rallos is estimated to reach P124 million.
Many are also asking why Tomas is suddenly showing interest in the issue. He is prodding his Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan allies in the council to appropriate the amount and pay the Ralloses.
On his possession of the two vehicles with police markings that were supposedly donated by Michael Gleissner, chairman of the Bigfoot Entertaintment Company, to the City, Tomas claimed that his sister Minnie bought them from Gleissner. But Land Transportation Office records show that one of the units, a Dodge Charger, is registered to Minnie’s son Paulo Osmeña Jacinto and that he bought it from the Columbian Autocar in Metro Manila, albeit the vehicle has been repainted. Tomas and his wife Margot are singing different tunes in justifying their possession of these vehicles.
Does accepting these expensive units constitute graft? Well, it’s up to the ombudsman to determine Tomas’s liability on the issue under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the provisions of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. This will also test the independence and integrity of the ombudsman to investigate public officials allied with the Aquino administration. Maayo ning naay mokiha ni Tomas kay nagtuo lang ni siya nga siya’y maoy labing hawod.
How true is the information I got that local government units, barangays and puroks that won in the annual contest of Gov. Gwen Garcia’s environmental program called Expanded Green and Wholesome Environment that Nurtures (E-Gwen) have not been able to cash their checks because of unavailability of funds? The prizes of the top three barangays are P150,000 for the first prize, P100,000 for the second prize and P50,000 for the third prize. For the purok levels they are P30,000 for the first prize; P20,000 for the second and P10,000 for the third prize.
In the “awarding ceremony” held at the Cebu International Convention Center last Aug. 7 attended by barangay captains from all over province, the winners were awarded blank checks. After the checks were handed to them by Gwen and her brother Rep. Pablo John Garcia, One Cebu Party’s gubernatorial candidate, Capitol personnel retrieved the checks with the promise that these would be returned in a matter of days.
And last Aug. 13, during the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo festival, winners were awarded again.
This time, the checks bore the names of winning barangays. But you know, the winners were not able to cash their checks because Capitol’s cash division allegedly told them funds were not appropriated for that. Sus, asa na man diay ang kuwarta sa Kapitolyo.
Sige tang panghatag sa ubang lugar og gasto sa suroy-suroy sa gobernador, unya wala na diay pundo?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 10, 2012.