SUSPENDED and outgoing Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said there was nothing irregular in the purchase of his new emergency vehicle worth P2.2 million.
In a phone interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Rama said his other Toyota Grandia, which he has been using since his previous terms, is already defective.
Recently, Acting Mayor Margarita Osmeña questioned the purchase of the new Toyota Super Grandia for Rama since it was already the second vehicle assigned to him, and it was delivered last February even if its purchase order (PO) was made only last May 2.
The brand new Toyota Super Grandia forms part of the P15 million in payables of the City Government to a supplier for vehicles over the past months.
“Ang usa ka sakyanan sige nag kaguba. Para nako wa may unnatural, illegal or improper about it. Naglibog gyod ko unsa ilang gustong ipagawas. Pataka lang gani na sila og sulti nga wa man ko mogamit og duha ka sakyanan nga van (The other vehicle is no longer in good condition. I don’t know what they want to achieve out of this),” Rama said.
When he got the new van, Rama said, his old vehicle was given to suspended Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella.
Asked why the vehicle was delivered even if it had no PO yet, Rama said it the supplier should be the one to answer that.
“Di una sila magpataka og yawyaw kay mobalik ra gihapon na sa ilang nawong (They should stop talking nonsense),” he said.
In her regular press conference yesterday, Osmeña said the purchase of the new vehicle for Rama charged to calamity funds was “not in order” and “questionable.”
“Since when a Grandia become an emergency vehicle? They classify it an emergency vehicle but dili man na emergency. Plus he already had one. Why does he need two?” she said.
In response, Rama said he chose to have a bigger vehicle because he is bringing with him the things he needs when responding to fire and traffic congestion, among others.
Aside from being a mayor, Rama said he is also a “responder.”
Osmeña did not confirm yet if the City will pay the supplier of Rama’s service vehicle, saying she has to discuss it first.
As to the eight Toyota Fortuner units worth P12 million (P1.5 million each) and which were included in the list of unpaid vehicles delivered to the city, Osmeña said the police has nothing to worry because they did not observe any irregularity on the purchase.
The eight Fortuner were converted into patrol cars and distributed to different units of the Cebu City Police Office last month by Rama before his suspension was served.
Although it was not specified if the City will buy Fortuners, the acting mayor said the police no longer need to return the vehicles because City will pay for them, considering that they were part of the approved items under the peace and order program.
“The papers are in order,” Osmeña said referring to the purchase of the eight Fortuners.