CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña yesterday gave a sarcastic comment on the court’s decision to allow Capitol to give over P250 million as additional payment to build the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).
“I’d like to congratulate the governor for being allowed to pay an overpayment of P250 million for the CICC…. I’d like the people to remember that,” the mayor said.
He and Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia are not on speaking terms and have exchanged bitter words over several issues, among them the construction of the CICC that the mayor said was anomalous.
He alleged that aside from being overpriced, the CICC was built using scrap iron, something that the Capitol denied.
In June last year, he submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas and the Commission on Audit (COA) documents to back his accusation that scrap iron was used to build the CICC.
He submitted an inventory of scrap iron turned over by Taisei Corp. and Marubeni Corp. Joint Venture. These were allegedly excess materials used in the Cebu South Coastal Road Project. He alleged these ended up being used for the CICC.
Osmeña had said his source, whom he refused to name, said the Department of Public Works and Highways failed to hold a public bidding before selling the scrap iron.
He said he submitted the documents to COA and the ombudsman “because the Province is willing to pay” for the extra work being billed by WT Construction.
A regional trial court, however, agreed last week to have the Capitol pay P257.414 million to WT Construction, the contractor of the CICC.
The amount was P6 million lower than the P268.263 million the contractor demanded from the Provincial Government.
Osmeña, though, said yesterday that “Cebu City gets the last laugh” because a convention center double the size of the CICC will be built at the South Road Properties (SRP).”
However, Capitol consultant on information and revenue generation Rory Jon Sepulveda said Osmeña should mind his own business and problems.
Not a party
Sepulveda said Osmeña is not a party to the case and instead of making statements on things that do not concern him, the mayor should instead take care of Cebu City’s pressing problems, like the city’s drainage system, relocation site for informal settlers, traffic lights, road network and solid waste disposal system.
While Osmeña said that the City will have the last laugh on the CICC issue, Sepulveda said Capitol will have the last smile.
He said the CICC was built not to compete but to beat a need at that time, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) summit in 2007.
Sepulveda said the Asean summit would not have been held in Cebu had there been no venue. Because of the Asean summit, Cebu got international attention.
“He should be reminded that he is not a party to the case. Let the court decide this...this is between WT Construction and us,” said Sepulveda, referring to the contractor.
Last February, Osmeña also taunted the Capitol by saying it would have to sell the CICC in Mandaue City as scrap metal in two years.
He said the CICC cannot compare with the convention facility that SM Prime Holdings will build in the SRP.
“The CICC is rusting and not making money…. They cannot even cite a single job it created, except (that for) the janitors cleaning the place,” the mayor said.