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Osmeña to sue Labella for ‘inaction’

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has challenged Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella to explain his alleged failure to convince the previous administration not to push through with the 45.2-hectare lot sale at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Osmeña, in a press conference, reacted to Labella’s statement that the City Council will scrutinize the proposed P18-billion project at the SRP which was reportedly in contrary to what happened in the previous transaction of the city in 2015.

“I challenge Labella to explain why the City Council did not get the terms and reference and the Deed of Sale on the transaction of the previous administration,” the mayor said.

Osmeña said Labella did not use his authority, being the head of the legislative body, when the City Council passed the resolution cancelling the authority of former mayor Michael Rama to sign the Deed of Sale with the giant developers.

The mere failure to intervene, especially that Labella is an ally of Rama, is already corruption, Osmeña said.

“I challenge him why should I not file charges against him for not doing his job?  To me, it’s a sign of corruption,” Osmeña said, adding that Labella should have stood up to defend the council.

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Labella, for his part, said he will just answer the complaint if the mayor will pursue the charges against him.

“Where is the corruption there? If he wants to file the case, I will just answer it in the proper forum. But I cannot imagine where is the corruption there,” he told The FREEMAN.

Meanwhile, Councilors Jocelyn Pesquera, Pastor Alcover, Jr., and Joel Garganera said the City Council will study the terms and reference of the project, especially that there are buildings at Kawit Island that will be affected.

During the Kapihan with Barug Team Rama Councilors yesterday, Pesquera said the buildings of the Association of Barangay Councils building, Senior Citizen Office, and Sugbu located at Kawit Island will be impacted with the implementation of the P18-billion project.

Pesquera recalled that it is the same incident when the company affiliated with JG Summit Holdings, Inc. constructed Robinsons Galleria in the property that houses the old offices of the Department of Public Services, Department of Engineering and Public Works, Community Scouts, and the Mobile Patrol Group.

She said the company bought the city’s property but Osmeña’s promise to construct buildings for the demolished city-owned buildings has not been realized yet.

“We will look into the nitty-gritty of the P18-billion proposal especially those under the terms and reference of the unsolicited proposal to avoid the same incidents again,” she said, adding that the city is still renting a building near City Hall where DEPW and other departments are holding their offices.

But, Osmeña said Rama became the mayor in 2010, adding that it should have been the latter who is supposed to construct buildings for the affected departments.

Pesquera also pointed out that the city government should revisit the memorandum of agreement it entered with the Department of Health, recalling that DOH will administer the Kawit Island Property for quarantine of people with severe and contagious diseases.

Osmeña said the city government still owns the Kawit Island since the city has donated a three-hectare lot at SRP where DOH’s new regional health office, National Blood Center and a warehouse will be constructed.

Garganera, for his part, said the mayor should not be “selective” in working with the investors and locators at SRP.

He said the giant buyers of the 45.2-hectare lots could have implemented projects like the world-class arena at SRP which could be more than the proposed P18-billion proposal.

Pesquera reminded the mayor that he does not own the SRP after the mayor has been very vocal on his stand against the “stealing” of city’s property of the giant developers.

Alcover, for his part, said members of the opposition-allied party will support the unsolicited proposal after scrutinizing its terms and reference. He said the officials of the city should consider the projects that would redound to the benefit of its constituents. (FREEMAN)

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