ANOTHER solicitation letter allegedly signed by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s secretary has again made it to Facebook.
In this one, Belinda Navascues asked for donations of bread that would be distributed to students who participated in the Independence Day parade last June 12.
A copy of the letter was posted by Facebook user “BOPK Ko” in the Maghisgot Kita’g Politika (Let’s talk about politics) page. BOPK stands for Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan, led by former mayor Tomas Osmeña, whom Rama defeated in 2013.
“Once again we would like to knock on your kind heart for our upcoming Independence Day Celebration on June 12, 2015,” the letter dated June 8 states. “We earnestly request that you will be able to share bread to be served to our school children who will be joining the parade.”
The letter adds: “Rest assured that your help will go a long way in helping our children especially those who come from our mountain public schools.”
Sun.Star Cebu tried to reach Navascues but calls to her mobile phone went unanswered. She previously said she could not recall signing the first letter, which requested some business establishments to donate bottled water for guests during the mayor’s State of the City Address on July 1.
As with the first letter, the mayor’s name but not his signature appears in the solicitation for bread. Navascues signed under the line “By the authority of the mayor.”
This letter identifies Mina Aracan as contact person for the donation, with a telephone number for the Office of the Mayor.
City Councilor Sisinio Andales, a BOPK ally, has questioned the first solicitation letter and asked why the City could not pay for the bottled water itself.
Solicitation and acceptance of gifts, he pointed out, are prohibited under Republic Act (RA) 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Section 7, Paragraph d of RA 6713 states: “Public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the course of their political duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.”
Commenting on the first letter, which Andales made public earlier this week, Mayor Rama has said he did not authorize the solicitation.
Next week’s State of the City Address will be Rama’s last for his second term and also the last before the synchronized elections in May 2016.