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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Joy asks Tom: Where are patrol cars?

TWENTY-FIVE patrol cars were reportedly bought for different barangays in Cebu City using then-congressman Tomas Osmeña’s share of the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF).

Where are the patrol cars now? A copy of the former Cebu City mayor’s PDAF releases for 2013 from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was posted on social media.

One such post appeared on the “Maghisgot Kitag Politika, Bay” Facebook page by an account named Jocelyn G. Pesquera.

Pesquera, a lawyer, is running for a seat in the City Council under the administration group Team Rama.

According to the document, five patrol cars each were bought for Barangays Talamban, Banilad, Tabunan, Buhisan and Guadalupe and released last Jan. 17, 2013.

Each unit cost P648,000.

Sun.Star Cebu checked the DBM website and found these items listed in the 2012 (not 2013) breakdown of projects funded by the congressman’s PDAF.

Sought for comment, Osmeña said the vehicles were given to the barangays.

But he clarified that each barangay got one vehicle and not five.

“Why are they questioning that? If they see something wrong, then file a case. The burden of proof is with her who posted that. She was the same person who accused me that I bought chop-chop dump trucks for the City and look where the vehicles are now. They’re still in good running condition,” Osmeña said in a phone interview.

He said he has yet to see the Facebook post. Osmeña served one term in the House of Representatives, from 2010 to 2013, but lost the mayoral elections in May 2013 to his former ally, Mayor Michael Rama. They are running against each other again this year.

Banilad Barangay Captain Nicolas Leyson Jr., confirmed that they received Osmeña’s help in the previous years.

Leyson said the barangay purchased the unit, not Osmeña, since the funds were directly downloaded to them.

“Yes, I remember that we received funds to buy a patrol car. It wasn’t enough so we added a small amount from the barangay funds, but I can’t recall the full details of that past expense,” Leyson told Sun.Star Cebu.

If needed, he said, he will let the barangay treasurer sort out their records to verify his statements.

Sun.Star Cebu tried getting the comments of other barangay captains but they had yet to respond as of press time.

It was in late 2013 when the Supreme Court declared the PDAF unconstitutional.
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