CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama will have to answer allegations that City-owned vehicles and other resources were used in the preparations for the rally of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) at the Plaza Independencia last night.
Yesterday morning, Commission on Elections (Comelec) 7 Director Temie Lambino directed Provincial Election Supervisor Eddie Aba and Cebu City election officers Marchel Sarno and Edwin Cadungog to conduct a formal investigation on the alleged use of City-Government owned vehicles, fuel and other resources to set up the stage for last night’s rally at the Plaza Independencia.
Rama reportedly admitted that using government-owned vehicles for campaign activities cannot be avoided. Team Rama is an ally of UNA.
“There are news reports that City Government officials allegedly used government properties to set up the stage. So what I did is I ordered attorneys Aba, Sarno and Cadungog to write a letter to Mayor Rama and ask for his statement and explanation on the allegations. They will write the letter today,” Lambino told Sun.Star Cebu.
He said it would have been ideal for Comelec to act on a complaint. But as there is none at present, the election office will base its inquiry on newspaper reports.
Lambino, however, urged news reporters and witnesses who heard Rama’s admission on the use City-owned vehicles to put their statements on record.
“We are asking them to substantiate their statements. If they have evidence that the mayor really said that some government resources were used, it will be good because we are not privy to their conversation with the mayor,” he said.
Lambino said he did not give the election officers a deadline to wrap up their investigation, since it would depend on the submission of the documents by the concerned parties.
Citing the Omnibus Election Code, he said those found using government properties during a campaign and other partisan activities may be sentenced to one to six years in jail without probation.
They may also be disqualified from seeking public office.