FORMER Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña may face administrative and criminal charges for stripping his office of furniture and fixtures after vacating it.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing said the new mayor and other local government officials should charge Osmeña before the Office of the Ombudsman for destroying government properties and for failing to adhere to the agency’s order for proper transition of office.
“Ang assumption natin ang may-ari niyan ay gobyerno unless proven otherwise (Our assumption is that the property is owned by the government unless proven otherwise)," Densing said.
Even if Osmeña is able to prove that he paid for the furniture and fixtures, he would still be liable because an elected official needs approval from the local government before he can spend for his office.
“Hindi rin po (okay yun kahit siya ang gumastos) nag-create pa rin siya ng damage dahil may damage sa opisina na ginawa, so maaari pa rin siyang maging liable doon ngayon ‘yung issue kung kanya yun edi patunayan nya muna sa aming pananaw kailangan niya munang magbigay ng ebidensya na siya nga ang may ari,” said Densing.
“Pwede naman yun (siya ang gagastos) pero subject yan sa acceptance ng munisipyo na pwede niyang gawin yun sa kanyang opisina hindi niya pwedeng gawin yun ng agaran lang ‘yung movable properties okay lang yun pero pag immovable na ‘yung talagang ididikit mo na ‘yung water faucet, tiles, iba na yan maaring pag umalis sya iwan na niya yan,” he added.
Secondly, Densing said the former mayor may be charged administratively for failing to comply with the memorandum circular signed by Secretary Año on the proper transition of office.
“Pangatlo, pwede siyang makasuhan criminally sa Office of the Ombudsman kasi damage to property. Sa pagpapaayos niyan kailangan gumastos ng pera ng bayan para ayusin ang property ng government,” he added.
(Thirdly, he may be charged criminally for causing damage to property. We will have to use government funds to repair the office.)
Mayor Edgardo Labella, former vice mayor who defeated Osmeña in the May 2019 elections, was surprised when he found the mayor’s office at the 8th floor of Cebu City Hall “vandalized” and “destroyed”.
The office was stripped of its plumbing and electrical systems. The ceiling, floor tiles and furniture were removed.
The forner mayor left behind only two industrial air-conditioning units and some chairs.
Osmeña said everything that he removed from his office was his. He had the office furnished and retrofitted in 2001. Osmeña served as mayor in 1987 to 1995, 2001 to 2010, and 2016 to 2019. (SunStar Philippines)