FORMER Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña may face additional administrative and criminal charges for stripping his office of furniture and fixtures after vacating it.
In an interview at the sidelines of the pre-Sona (State of the Nation Address) forum on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said his office is just waiting for the results of the fact-finding investigation on the matter.
“As soon as ma-receive ko yung result ng fact-finding namin, tatakbo na yan (We will file charges as soon as I receive the results of the fact-finding the DILG conducted),” he said.
The complaints, he said, will be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.
“I asked our legal service to look into other possible cases we could appropriately file,” Año said.
The Office of the Mayor, located at the 8th floor of Cebu City Hall Annex building, was stripped of its plumbing and electrical systems. The ceiling, floor tiles and furniture were also removed.
The former mayor left behind only two industrial air-conditioning units and some chairs.
Earlier, Osmeña said everything that he removed from his office was his. He had the office furnished and retrofitted in 2001. Osmeña served as mayor from 1988 to 1995, 2001 to 2010, and 2016 to 2019.
Last Monday, July 8, the Cebu City Legal Office filed criminal and administrative complaints against Osmeña before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.
Osmeña and the other respondents were charged for violating Republic Act (RA) 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), theft and malicious mischief.
The other complaints filed against the respondents were violations of Article 4 (d) of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees), and administrative charges of grave misconduct, grave neglect of duty, conduct unbecoming of a public official and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Also on the same day, DILG 7 Director Leocadio Trovela visited Osmeña’s former office as part of the fact-finding investigation initiated by the DILG central office.
The DILG-initiated visit was to determine the appropriate charges that would be filed against the former mayor.
The information gathered by the DILG 7 team and lawyers of Bantay Corruption office will be transmitted to the legal service unit of the DILG central office.
Año said his job is “to see to it that our local chief executives and local government officials are doing their mandate, and observing proper order and decorum.”
He also challenged Osmeña to show proof that he owns the fixtures and furniture that were taken out of the office.
“He needs to prove that he really owns all those equipment because if not, it will count as theft. The office probably had a ceiling and floor when he assumed office. Now, we can see that the floor and ceiling were destroyed,” Año said in Tagalog.
He reminded public officials that regardless of whether they are incumbent or outgoing, they should be “responsible and accountable”
for their actions. (RTF)