INSTEAD of terminating their services, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he will just reprimand the staff of the Barangay Mayor’s Office (BMO) in Mambaling following reports of another solicitation controversy.
After reading the solicitation letter, the mayor said he did not find any malice in its contents.
“Primarily, because it even had the signature of the parish priest. I think it was well intended. It was just for their own community. With the signature of the parish priest, it shows you that they have nothing to hide. The action taken was what they did wrong,” Osmeña told reporters yesterday.
In their letter, the BMO in Mambaling used the letterhead and logo of the barangay unlike in Apas, where the BMO used the City Government’s seal.
However, Mambaling Barangay Captain Wilfredo Go said that those who signed the solicitation letters are not authorized to use the barangay’s letterhead and logo.
Not for personal benefit?
The first solicitation letter, dated December 2017, was signed by Narciso Gador. It was addressed to the manager of SM Seaside City Cebu, asking management for financial assistance that would be used for the BMO’s Christmas party.
The second solicitation letter was addressed to a private individual, asking her for a financial assistance to finance their contingent in the last Sinulog Grand Parade.
It was signed by Richard dela Torre, choreographer of the contingent; Gina Lucido; BMO official and organizers and Mambaling Barangay Councilors Emier Hamis, who is also the BMO head and Arturo Belciña, BMO assistant head.
Go has asked the mayor to impose disciplinary actions against those involved in the solicitations.
Osmeña had fired all the staff of BMO in Apas who were involved in the distribution of solicitation letters to some businessmen to finance their Sinulog contingent. The mayor, though, believes that in Mambaling’s case, the tenure of the letter was not for personal benefit since the main proponent was the choreographer.
“I think they were not really aware that they were doing something against the law, so I’ll just give them a reprimand and a warning to everybody. That’s it. No unauthorized solicitation using the name of the barangay and/or the City Government,” he said.
This, however, does not mean that the BMO in Mambaling is off the hook.
“BMO is undergoing investigation for the perya (fair). That seems to be a more serious, questionable activity,” Osmeña said.
Among the questions raised were how did they authorize it and how much are they collecting from the organizer, he said.
There were also reports that the fair has been using electricity from the barangay command control center.
The complaints were filed by former Mambaling barangay captain Rodolfo Estela, who claimed that the fair continues to operate even after the barangay council ordered it to shut down.
Osmeña said he has sent out Raquel Arce, head of the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement team, to verify the reports.
“With that, I can terminate the services of those responsible,” he said.