CALLING it illegal, Cebu City Acting Mayor Margarita Osmeña ordered two barangay captains to stop collecting parking fees in two City Government-owned properties converted into parking lots.

In two separate memoranda dated June 7, Osmeña directed Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta and Kamagayan Barangay Captain Raquel Avila to desist from collecting parking fees at the vacant lot where the Warwick Barracks and CitiCenter Commercial Complex used to stand.

“The act of collecting parking fees without appropriate authority is contrary to law,” the acting mayor said.

She also directed them to account for all the parking fees collected within five days after receiving her order.

The City Government demolished the Warwick Barracks after it was hit by a fire in January 2014.

The CitiCenter, which had been occupied by informal settlers and was allegedly used as a drug den, was demolished in August of the same year.

Last year, the officials of the two barangays decided to use the vacant lots and converted it into a parking facility.

In an interview yesterday, both Rupinta and Avila, who are allies of Team Rama, said they have not received yet the memorandum ordering them to stop collecting parking fees.

But they told Sun.Star Cebu that suspended mayor Michael Rama gave them the authority to collect parking fees.

Rupinta said they collect P10 for every vehicle parked at Warwick Barracks area, while Avila said they collect P20 from those who park their vehicles at the CitiCenter property.

According to Rupinta, they earn P4,000 to P6,000 a day from parking fees collected in Warwick Barracks alone. The collection goes to the barangay’s coffers and funds their programs and projects, he said.

Rupinta even said that with the parking fees, the barangay was able to buy a new fire truck.

Once he receives the memorandum, Rupinta said he will meet with Osmeña and explain the barangay’s collection of parking fees. He will also submit all records, documents and bank deposit slips as proof that the funds were deposited to the barangay’s bank account.

“There are talks that maybe I got rich because of the parking fees. But the money didn’t go to my own pocket. Everything is documented,” he said.

Avila, for her part, said the revenue they generate is also being used to fund programs and projects of their barangay.

Once she receives a copy of the memorandum, Avila said she will review it and see if they will stop collecting parking fees.

“It’s a big help to the barangay,” she added.