Editorial: Now that he’s being probed-A A +A
Friday, September 14, 2012
REP. Tomas Osmeña earlier dared his critics to file charges against him on his use of two Dodge Chargers, one of which is painted black and white, has a siren, is marked “Cebu City Police” and bears the seal of the Cebu City Government.
But now that the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has started its inquiry into the matter, he is complaining. His complaint? That he is being singled out by the ombudsman. He must have forgotten that he dared fate when he blurted out: Sue me!
The anti-graft office will look into the former mayor’s possible violation of Section 7 of Republic Act 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) which prohibits public officials from soliciting or accepting gifts.
The two cars were from Bigfoot Entertainment’s Michael Gleissner, whose Bigfoot Studios Inc. was the first to locate in the South Road Properties (SRP) when Osmeña was still city mayor by leasing two hectares of reclaimed lots for 25 years.
The German-born Gleissner also became a Filipino citizen with the help of a lobby in the House of Representatives and the Senate by Osmeña.
That’s an interesting link. But before delving into that, the anti-graft office needs to first untangle the mess created by Osmeña’s possession of the Dodge Chargers.
Indeed, to wiggle free from the accusation that he is using donated vehicles, Osmeña insisted that Gleissner never donated the cars to the city but instead offered to give it to him, which he refused. The cars, he said, were instead sold to Osmeña’s sister Minnie and her son Paolo.
Is he saying that the donation is being transformed into a gift, later legitimized as a sale?
Meanwhile, it looks like a period of time elapsed from the offer to donate the cars in 2009 to their purchase in 2012, per Land Transportation Office (LTO) records (at least in Paolo’s case). In that intervening period, did Osmeña appropriate the cars for his own use?
Finally, there’s Osmeña’s act of mimicking the use of one of the vehicles as a patrol car, the very reason why the Dodge Chargers presence in the former mayor’s garage became controversial in the first place. It’s a lesser issue but the anti-graft office still needs to clarify it.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2012.