Thursday, August 22, 2019

Ombudsman dismisses criminal raps vs Rama

THE Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the criminal complaint against former Cebu City mayor Michael Rama over the release of P20,000 calamity aid to City Hall employees in 2013.

In a resolution approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Millicent Reyes said there is no probable cause to charge Rama for malversation, technical malversation and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Reyes said there is no evidence that the funds used to give the aid were taken or misappropriated by Rama.

Reyes also said that the release of the calamity aid was made to comply with City Ordinances (CO) 2379 and 2380.

“It is also clear that the public funds appropriated in CO 2379 and CO 2380 were used for the purpose stated therein,” reads a portion of the resolution.

The anti-graft office believes that the disbursement of the calamity aid was proper since the Department of Budget Management declared the two ordinances as operative in its entirety.

Sought for comment, Rama said the Ombudsman’s decision proves that there is nothing irregular with the transaction.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña, for his part, said he cannot comment on the matter because he doesn’t know yet the details about the case’s dismissal.

In 2013, the City Government distributed P20,000 calamity assistance to each of the City Hall employees and officials after the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu and Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Named complainant in the case was lawyer Reymelio Delute.

But Reyes said records failed to sufficiently support Delute’s allegations that the respondent acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence on the release of the financial assistance.

A separate administrative complaint against Rama over the same cash distribution was lodged before the Office of the President. It was the reason Rama and most of the city officials were preventively suspended for six months.(Razel V. Cuizon/SunStar Cebu)

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