CEBU City Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr. yesterday filed a string of graft complaints against Mayor Tomas Osmeña before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.
Alcover asked Deputy Ombudsman Paul Elmer Clemente to investigate Osmeña and place him under preventive suspension.
The first-term councilor accused the mayor of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Revised Penal Code, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and Republic Act 8491 or the Flag Heraldic Code of the Philippines.
In his complaint-affidavit, Alcover said that Osmeña’s cash reward offer to police officers who killed anyone suspected of being involved in the illegal drugs trade was “a sheer disregard of due process.”
Alcover also said that Osmeña’s appointment of his wife, Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña, as a deputy mayor violated the law on nepotism.
The mayor was in Manila on a personal trip when Alcover filed the complaints.
Councilor Osmeña, when interviewed, said her colleague in the City Council can do whatever he wants to do.
“He is not worth commenting on,” she said.
On her appointment as deputy mayor for budget and finance, the councilor pointed out that it can be done since she has been elected as a councilor.
“I just happen to be Tommy’s wife,” she added.
Alcover belongs to the council majority, now held by allies of former Cebu City mayor Michael Rama. In his complaint, he said that giving rewards to the officers who killed “drug users, pushers and drug lords absent due process of law is tantamount to debasing or demeaning the intrinsic dignity of individuals and disrespect for human rights.”
He also alleged that the appointment of deputy mayors encroached on the council’s functions and violated the Constitution and the principle of separation of powers.
Likewise, Alcover said, Osmeña violated the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines when he ordered that flag-raising and flag retreat ceremonies be done only once a month.
Under the law, the councilor said, the flag-raising should be done every Monday morning and flag retreats must be held every Friday afternoon.
“His acts do not speak well of a local chief executive who is mandated to implement the law,” said Alcover.
In response, Councilor Osmeña sad that the reason behind the appointment of Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) as deputy mayors should be obvious.
“It is because we have his trust and confidence and because we are on the same side,” she said.
She went on to say that the designation of deputy mayors is not new.
During the time of former mayor Michael Rama, Alcover’s son, former Agsungot barangay captain Pastor Alcover, was designated as deputy mayor in the mountain barangays.
Councilor Osmeña said the current deputy mayors can call meetings with City Hall offices, particularly those that concern the areas the councilors are assigned to oversee, but they don’t sign documents.
“We just get details for him (the mayor), make it easier for him. We can recommend to him or relay details of our meetings to him. On my part, I don’t call the shots. It is still the mayor who calls the shots,” she said.
Councilor Sisinio Andales, for his part, said he has not seen yet the complaints Alcover filed against the mayor.
But Andales said the giving of executive functions to the BOPK councilors is the prerogative of the local chief executive.
He said Alcover always has nothing good to say about the present administration, especially when he delivers privilege speeches in the council.
“Ang akoa ba, human na man ang election nato (The election is over). Whether we like it or not, Mayor Tommy Osmeña is our mayor up to 2019. Bisag unsaon pa nato ug pangugat gyod, di siya kausab sa resulta sa election nato (Whatever we do, we cannot change the election results),” he added.