City: Use of pickups remain unrestricted

CEBU City Hall has no plans, for now, to restrict the use of government-owned vehicles issued to barangay captains.

The issue was raised as Mabini Barangay Captain Rey Oybenes used the City-issued pickup truck when he allegedly dumped the body of his lover in Barangay Cansumoroy, Balamban before shooting himself inside the same vehicle last Thursday.

General Services Office (GSO) Chief Rolando Ardosa said it is difficult to impose restrictions on the use of the vehicles because the job of a barangay captain can be considered “24-7”–it goes on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

u201cAng ato ra gyud is mosalig ta nila nga gamiton nila og tarong ang mga sakyanan kay barangay official gud sila (We have to trust them to use the vehicle only for legal activities). They should be a role models to their constituents," he added.

Repair

Ardosa said City Hall will retrieve the pickup truck given to Oybenes once the police release it.

The vehicle will have to be repaired because its windows were broken when relatives of Oybenes tried to save the barangay official.

Ardosa said he does not know if the needed repair is still covered by the one-year warranty. If the insurance won’t cover the damage, he said, the City will have to shoulder the cost.

Asked if the vehicle will be given back to Barangay Mabini, Ardosa said, the decision is Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s to make.

The pickup was among the vehicles given by City Hall to 80 barangay captains last year. The City spent about P80 million from the P5.2-billion 2012 budget to buy the vehicles, which is priced at P1 million each.

Liability

Ardosa said the barangay captain’s relatives may not be held liable for the damage on the vehicle. He added that the Memie did what she thought was right to save her brother.

Memie, who ordered her brother to break the window of the pickup with a rock, said she already apologized to Rama for her behavior last Thursday. She said she believed that her brother was still alive and got frustrated that the police did not immediately open the vehicle.

She told Sun.Star Cebu that she is willing to face the consequences of her actions.

Crime scene investigators said they did not force the vehicle open because they wanted to preserve evidence.

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