Cebu News

Rama says rule on use of gov’t cars “impractical”

Ma. Fatima R. Secuya - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama described the rule that prohibits the use of government-issued cars during political campaign and rallies as “impractical,” saying this could not affect the decision of the voters.

Rama’s statement came after reports that government vehicles were spotted carrying food and drinks for the Team Rama supporters during the party’s grand proclamation rally in the Plaza Independencia last Tuesday.

Section 261 (o) of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines bars the “use of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or controlled by the government for an election campaign.”

However, Rama said that as incumbent officials with a service car from the government, they should always have immediate access to these vehicles wherever they go during emergencies.

The mayor made an example of himself, saying he did not use his government-issued vehicle that night and used his brother’s car. However, he said it somehow did not make sense because upon going to plaza, his service vehicle still followed him there.

“Kay ngano man? Og naa’y emergency, unsa ma’y sakyan nako? I’m not using it technically pero mao lagi na,” matod ni Rama.

He said even though he was not using his vehicle, after the rally, he is still the incumbent mayor so he can still use his service vehicle.

“Mao na akong punto nga ang balaod, nanobra nga di na sad mao usahay,” said Rama.

But Rama said what is important now is the education of the people about who is the right candidate to vote for.

“Whether naa na ka’y sakyanan or wala, kung mahibaw-an jud ka nga ikaw usa ka kawatan, bisag di pa ka magdala sa imong sakyanan, botaran ka? Dili uy,” said Rama.

He also said that it is hard to implement this kind of rule since they could not stop supporters who would want to show their support for their candidate.

“In my 24 years in public service? Ang uban diha mapriso man gani na sila basta kay molaban gyud sila, laban lang. Ang thinking man gud ana nila, sila gyud daginoton? Wala man gani na ang mga dagkong abusado diha nga milyon-milyon ang  pagpangawat?,” said Rama.

He said some government vehicles were in fact spotted during the grand rally of Team Rama’s opponent, the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan, last Monday in Barangay Guadalupe.

However, the mayor said what is clear is that he is encouraging all officials in the city to follow the rules.

“Pagkagahi na sad og ulo nila og ila pa gyud nga gamiton in the future,” said Rama.

Rama earlier said he wants City Administrator Lucelle Mercado to look into the matter.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas is also reminding candidates, especially incumbent officials seeking reelection, of the prohibition of the use of government vehicles in political campaign activities.

Maria Corazon Vergara-Naraja, Ombudsman investigator and spokesperson, said violators will be dealt with administratively if found guilty of the offense, and may face suspension from public office.  (FREEMAN)

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