SINCE the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is asking for witnesses, Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) sent the election body a text message about the plate numbers of the 19 buses used in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) proclamation rally last Feb. 11.
Osmeña also showed reporters a copy of a receipt indicating that UNA paid P10,000 in cash for the use of Kaoshiung buses.
Comelec sent Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama a letter asking him to explain the use of government vehicles during the rally as it investigates the alleged use of government resources in the UNA rally.
Rama told reporters yesterday he has not received the letter. He dismissed the receipt showed by Osmeña, saying the City even allow free use of the Kaohsiung buses for burials and weddings.
He said use of the buses is one of the basic services provided by the Cebu City Government.
Osmeña and Rama will be vying for the mayoral seat in the May 13 elections.
Comelec had urged witnesses to come out and submit affidavits attesting on the use of government properties in the rally.
Asked if he would ask his supporters who monitored the UNA rally to submit affidavits, the congressman said no. He pointed out that the use of government property was documented by the media.
A TV news video clip showed City-owned dump trucks bringing materials for the stage used in the UNA rally at the Plaza Independencia. The podium used by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama in his daily press conference was the same podium used by Vice President Jejomar Binay and other UNA national bets.
Comelec 7 Director Temie Lambino said the investigation will include Osmeña’s allegations and Rama’s statements that appeared in news reports.
Osmeña said that if the Comelec will not punish Rama, the mayor would continue to use government property in the campaign and even during election day.
But Rama pointed out that the election is still far away.
In Talisay, City Administrator Richel Bacaltos assured that government resources will not be used in the campaign.
He said he has prohibited City Hall employees from campaigning for any local politician.
But he admitted that job-order employees of City Hall may be another matter. He said job-order employees who are hired by elected officials would be obliged to help their benefactors campaign.
Bacaltos was campaign manager of the local ruling party, Alayon, from 2007 to 2010.