Cebu News

Rama, 13 others charged over calamity assistance

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and 13 other city officials are facing another complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas over the release of P20,000 calamity assistance to each of the 4,200 City Hall officials and employees in 2013.

Lawyer Reymelio Delute, who earlier filed an administrative complaint against the same officials before the Office of the President, said he was disappointed that the suspension order against Rama and the other officials involved had been deferred due to the ongoing election ban.

Delute's disappointment prompted him to bring the case before the anti-graft body on Friday.

Delute said he wants the ombudsman to look into the possibility of elevating the case into criminal complaint.

"Dismayado ko sa suspension bitaw nga wala gyod ma-implementar unya wala gyod mohatag og clearance ang Comelec (Commission on Elections) kay after election na kuno," he said.

He said the Office of the President has already directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government to implement the six-month suspension order against the city officials after they were found guilty of grave abuse of authority.

The Comelec en banc, however, deferred the suspension order until after the elections. Comelec's approval or clearance is needed because of the election ban.

"So, akong gi-pursue ang criminal case kay nadismayado ko sa administrative. Murag maka-ingon ta'g wala nay lami ba kay 6-month suspension unya dili makasubay kay June 30 ma-expire ang iyang term. Pila nalang kabuwan?" Delute said.

He said the city officials should be liable for their acts.

Aside from Rama, the other officials named as respondents in the complaint were Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, City Councilors Nestor Archival Sr., Mary Ann de los Santos, David Tumulak, Nendell Hanz Abella, Sisinio Andales, Alvin Arcilla, Roberto Cabarrubias, Ma. Nida Cabrera, Gerardo Carillo, Alvin Dizon, Eugenio Gabuya, Jr., and Noel Eleuterio Wenceslao.

"On February 29, 2016, the DILG concluded its investigation and transmitted the case records with its factual findings and recommendation to the Office of the President as Disciplining Authority," the complaint reads.

Delute said he is hoping that after the elections, his administrative complaint will be acted upon while his complaint before the ombudsman is pending.

"Aron ma-pursue ang criminal aspect sa kaso kay liable man siya sa malversation of funds. Ang technical malversation nga gitugotan lang siya og P161 million but iyang gi-increase. Ang gi-increase didto gikuha sa office sa City Administrator nga budgeted naman tong kwartaha, dili to pang calamity. Diha ang technical malversation," Delute said.

He said he is also eyeing to file a motion for implementation on the administrative complaint before the DILG.

He said he will file it on May 11 so that officials will be suspended before their terms will end this year. —(FREEMAN)

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