On Tomas suing Mike over Carbon Market building: Ermita execs, vendors ‘dismayed’

May B. Miasco/NSA (The Freeman) - November 25, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Vendors and officials of Barangay Ermita, Cebu City expressed dismay by the move of former mayor Tomas Osmeña in suing Mayor Michael Rama and 19 other city officials and employees over Carbon Market Unit II.

The barangay officials, who are also stakeholders of Cebu City United Vendors Association (CCUVA) operating at Carbon Market, are worried that the case filed by Osmeña may delay the ongoing reconstruction of the building that was razed by fire in 1998.

“Kami naglibog mi aning tawhana (Osmeña) tungod kay among interpretation sa iyang gibuhat nga iyang pugngan nga dili madayon ang merkado nga matukod,” said Ermita barangay captain and CCUVA founder Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta.

Osmeña, who is seeking the mayoral seat in the 2016 polls, recently filed criminal charges for violation of the anti-graft law and Government Procurement Act before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas against Rama and 19 other officials and employees of the City Hall.

He alleged that the respondents connived with each other when they awarded the P167–million project for the reconstruction of Unit 2 to a private contractor even if the contractor was not qualified to enter into contracts of projects over P100 million with the government.

Rupinta said whether the contractor is eligible or not does not matter; what is important is that it has done its job efficiently.

Unit II was damaged by fire in 1998 during the administration of former mayor Alvin Garcia, who then loaned money from the Philippine National Bank to have the building reconstructed. But the reconstruction reportedly did not push through after Garcia lost to Osmeña.

Osmeña served the city for three consecutive terms but he did not even initiate to start the project despite the available budget, said Rupinta. The borrowed money was instead realigned to other city projects, added Rupinta.

Rupinta said when Rama took over in 2010, the mayor initially pushed for the reconstruction project but was again stalled by the majority bloc of the council composed of Osmeña’s Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan.

In 2013, Rama somehow managed to have the project continue even without the support of the council.

“1998 pa wala nalihok ang Unit II. Napurdoy na ang mga tindera tungod kay wala na nakabalik og tinda pero karon nalipay mi kay gipaspasan na,” said Rupinta.

The barangay captain said they would be mad at Osmeña should the reconstruction will be ordered stopped due to the case the latter filed.

“Dili tinuod nga may malasakit na siya kay pagsugod pa lang, sa siyam niya katuig isip mayor, wala siya’y gihiling bisan usa ka-lansang diha sulod sa merkado. Pwerting dugaya namong huwat sa pagtukod sa merkado, karon hunongon na sad. Kon hunongon gani kay naa siya’y kaso nga gipasaka, anha mi maglagot g’yud niya,” said Rupinta.

Aside from Rama, named respondents of the two criminal cases are head of the Bids and Awards Committee Rafael Christopher Yap, city engineer Jose Marie Poblete, budget officer Nelfa Briones and BAC members Veronica Morelos, Josefa Ylanan and Dr. Alice Utlang.

Other respondents were members of the BAC-Technical Working Group namely Jose Daluz III as head and June Nadine Sison, Joel Reston, Estela Delos Reyes, Yuriy Sesican, Gilfer Phodore Bucabal, Joemar Aboyabor and Emmanuel Ricardo as members. Members of the secretariat Jason Bongcales, Carlota Nelyn Paglinawan, and Kenneth Carmelita Enriquez, now head of the City Development and Planning Office, were also sued. — (FREEMAN)

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