Tomas’s defense-A A +A
Friday, September 14, 2012
I HAVE a friend who is womanizer. After a long surveillance, he was finally caught by his wife with his paramour as they checked out from a motel. Cornered and confronted by his angry wife, he shouted back: “Ako diay ni, ako diay ni?” Deny to death gyud akong amigo.
This story reminds me of the controversy hounding Cebu City south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña in connection with his possession of two expensive vehicles that were supposed to be donated by Bigfoot Entertainment to the Cebu City Government but ended up in the personal custody and at the disposal of the honorable congressman.
Cornered by his own admission and public pronouncements, Tomas tried to divert the issue by challenging his critics to sue him. Like my friend who said “Ako diay ni?”
Tomas just said: “Sue me,” obviously running out of arguments to justify his possession of the cars. Every time he speaks, it appears like he is courting possible suits. Mao nay giingon sa Tagalog nga, “sa bibig nahuhuli ang isda.”
When this issue cropped up, Tomas and his wife, Margot, admitted that the two expensive vehicles were given by Michael Gleissner, chairman of Bigfoot Entertainment.
They were supposed to be donated to the City Government but since Tomas’s term was about to end, Gleissner, a close friend, gave it to him instead. Tomas claimed that the vehicles were bought by his sister, Minnie. But he could not present documents to bolster his claim.
Then the name of Minnie's son, Paolo Osmeña Jacinto, surfaced as the one who bought one of the vehicles at Columbian Autocar in Metro Manila. Is Columbian also owned by Gleissner? Paolo's unit was repainted but the other one has the Cebu City seal and with police markings.
Tomas said all the vehicles have green, and not red, plate numbers. The vehicles are at his disposal and are used to escort VIPs. Anybody can request to use it except Mayor Michael Rama.
In justifying the legality of his possession of the cars, Tomas compared it to when President Noynoy Aquino borrows light planes or choppers from his friends. But this analogy is not logical. Borrowing and accepting gifts have different meanings. In the case of PNoy, he does not need to borrow money because many would offer this to him.
Besides, it is only for a short period of time. In the case of Tomas, he accepted those vehicles and used them like they were his personal property.
He is liable under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees which prohibits public officials and employees from accepting gift from private individuals, especially those transacting business with the government. Bigfoot is leasing a portion of the SRP for its movie studios.
Tomas complained that he is being singled out? Well, if he is being singled out in the investigation, then it is his own doing. Gleissner, Minnie and Paolo will be included in the investigation because they are donor and buyers of the vehicles.
But Mike should take the lead in filing an official complaint before the Ombudsman to make the anti-graft office move expeditiously on the case. I am afraid that, in its motu propio investigation, the anti-graft office will just be working at its own pace.
Si Cris Saavedra bitaw, nakatsamba man ni Gov. Gwen Garcia sa Balili property. Ayaw na pagnokos-nokos diha, Mr. Mayor. Pamulitika o way pamolitika, tinud-a ni kay naa kay igong basihanan ug sukaranan nga ikiha si Tomas.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 15, 2012.