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Cebu News

‘Destruction’ of Mayor’s Office: City readies raps vs Tom

Odessa O. Leyson - The Freeman
âDestructionâ of Mayorâs Office: City readies raps vs Tom
City Attorney Rey Gealon said there was “evident bad faith” in the way they took Osmeña’s property out.
File

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Legal Office is set to file criminal charges against former mayor Tomas Osmeña, his executive assistant Raymund Paul Climaco Taboada, and 27 personnel from a construction firm for stripping the mayor’s office of its furnishings.

City Attorney Rey Gealon said there was “evident bad faith” in the way they took Osmeña’s property out.

“The wanton destruction of the Office of the Mayor, stripped to the bone without even the barest essentials, is demonstrative of moral obliquity or conscious wrongdoing for some perverse motive or ill will,” Gealon said.

The city’s Department of General Services has certified that Osmeña owns the brown colored cabinets/shelves/claddings, light plumbing fixtures, partitions and doors, ceiling and floor works.

From Thursday night and Friday dawn last week, personnel of Dakay Construction cleared the mayor’s office at the eighth floor of the executive building.

But Gealon said what happened was tantamount to theft and the people concerned allegedly violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Under the Act, officials are not allowed to cause “undue injury" to the government, otherwise he or she will be held liable.

Meanwhile, the Revised Penal Code says theft is committed by “any person who, with intent to gain but without violence against or intimidation of persons nor force upon things, shall take personal property of another without the latter’s consent.”

“In this case, they conspired, confederated and cooperated with each other in damaging government property by forcibly removing the immovable properties found in the Office of the Mayor which belong to the Cebu City Government, without any valid and lawful authority, with intent to gain, without the use of violence against or intimidation of persons or force upon things,” Gealon said.

He said Osmeña has no authority to clear and to remove the properties at the mayor’s office.

Gealon said government properties include properties stored therein such as furniture, fixtures, equipment, supplies, materials, and others.

Properties where ownership was transferred to the government will be considered as government properties.

“While it may be argued that the movable properties found in the Office of the Mayor may be removed from the said office provided there is incontrovertible proof of private ownership of the said articles, the same does not give license for the wanton destruction of the Office of the Mayor especially when the movable has already become affixed to the building and its removal would entail breaking the floors, walls and ceiling of the building itself,” Gealon said.

Personal properties of Osmeña that were removed are shelves, light and plumbing fixtures, partitions and door, ceiling and floor works.

Gealon said even though Osmeña utilized personal funds and his friends’ money to renovate the office when he assumed in 2016, he should have followed proper procedure as stated in Commission on Audit Circular No. 89-296, which says only unserviceable properties or those without commercial value or is beyond economic repair may be destroyed or condemned.

“They must be penalized for this brazen act of arrogance and blatant assault and betrayal of the People's Trust - to be able to feel the full force of the law,” he said.

The City Legal Office is finalizing the complaint and will file it before the Office of the Ombudsman within the week.

The FREEMAN tried to get the statement of Osmeña and Taboada but they were out of reach yesterday.

The two said earlier, though, that they will answer charges at the proper forum.

“Let them file a case but on the latest renovations, we have the program of works… they should also provide the evidence that the city spent for it. Sure, let them file a case, okay ra. Why not?” Osmeña said said. (FREEMAN)

TOMAS OSMEñA

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