Freeman Cebu News ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: , sectionmatch: 1

Over refusal to accept srp lot payment: Tomas sued anew

CEBU, Philippines - Mayor Tomas Osmeña and City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo are facing criminal and administrative complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for allegedly causing "undue injury" to the city in not accepting the proceeds of the sale of lots at the South Road Properties (SRP) in 2015.

In his complaint filed last Thursday afternoon, Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman accused Osmeña and Camarillo of grave misconduct for allegedly violating Section 3 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Ayuman asked the anti-graft body to immediately place Osmeña and Camarillo under preventive suspension pending investigation so they cannot use their positions to pressure and influence potential witnesses against them.

"The acts of the respondents caused damage and prejudice to the Cebu City Government and the people of the City of Cebu who are deprived of the much-needed revenue which could have funded programs and projects for the benefit of the Cebuanos," reads part of Ayuman's 20-page complaint.

Sought for comment, Osmeña said there was no valid sale.

"City Council passed resolution removing authority of mayor to sign Deed of Sale. Days later, Mayor (Michael) Rama signed among other fatal reasons," Osmeña said in a text message to The FREEMAN.

Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

Camarillo was unavailable for comment yesterday.

In an interview, Ayuman said he filed the complaint against the mayor and the treasurer since the money could have been used for projects in the barangays.

"Pila gud na ka billions of pesos. I think naka-cause og injury gyod sa syudad. It's hight time nga file ang case kay wala dawata sa syudad ang payment. Nahikawan ang syudad," he said.

Ayuman attached Osmeña's letter to Camarillo ordering the Treasurer’s Office to refrain from accepting payments from giant developers that bought 45.2-hectare parcels of land at SRP.

In a July 27-letter, Osmeña told Camarillo that any installment payment is “devoid of any legal and/or contractual basis” in relation to the “irregularly executed contracts” entered by the city.

In 2015, former mayor Michael Rama closed a lot deal of P16.7 billion with the consortium of Ayala Land, Cebu Holdings Inc. and SM Prime Holdings or ALI Consortium for a 26.3-hectare property while the 19.2-hectare property was awarded to Filinvest Land Inc.

As down payment, these giant companies paid P8.35 billion to the city government in 2015. Last year, they paid at least P3 billion for the first installment but Osmeña ordered Camarillo not to use the money, saying he wants to rescind the contracts the city entered into with the developers.

Last August 2, ALI Consortium wanted to pay its second installment, but heeding Osmeña’s order, Camarillo did not accept the payment.

Buyers of the lots have paid P11 billion to the city and they are expected to settle the remaining balance next year, as agreed in the Deed of Sale.

Osmeña said the Commission on Audit has provided for steps that must be undertaken before any government asset or property may be disposed of. These methods, he said, were established in order to protect the public interest by giving the public the best possible advantages through open competition but was not complied by the previous administration.

He said there was "no valid sale."

Ayuman said Osmeña and Camarillo violated Section 3 of R.A 3019 by constantly and publicly threatening to rescind the Deed of Sale on Installment between the city and SRP lot buyers.

Ayuman said the city may be held liable for violating provisions of the Deed of Sale signed by all parties involved in the SRP lot sale.

Ayuman said the mayor unnecessarily cast doubt on the validity of the SRP sale contracts.

"Osmeña, as the local chief executive, has engendered undue alarm and concern in the business sector and potential investors, both local and foreign, thereby consequently hampering the economic growth and development of Cebu City," Ayuman said.

Ayuman said Osmeña and Camarillo run counter Articles 1159, 1315, and 1308 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, which states that contracts have the force of law between the parties and the obligations therein must be honored and complied with in good faith at all times.

Ayuman said the city could have used the proceeds of the SRP lot sale to fund projects or to pay the city's loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the reclamation project of SRP in 1995.

He said there was "bad faith" and malice on the part of Osmeña for continuously making public pronouncements against the contracts entered by the city and buyers.

But, as of now, Ayuman said there is no case for the rescission of the said contracts filed before the court.

Ayuman said Osmeña has been changing his grounds and bases for the alleged irregularities of the SRP lot sale.

At first, Ayuman said Osmeña alleged that the sale was a product of collusion between the previous administration and the buyers.

Osmeña contended the contract the city and the buyers entered into was not valid because the Council did not authorize Rama to do the same.

Another supposed speculation of Osmeña was the failure of the previous administration to comply with COA rules.

But Ayuman said there were representatives of COA during the public bidding conducted on June 30, 2015.

Ayuman said Osmeña and Camarillo are guilty of grave misconduct, which is punishable by dismissal from government service.

Also, Ayuman said the mayor and treasurer are guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and conduct unbecoming of a government employee. (FREEMAN)

Freeman ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:
  • Follow Us: