Gealon clarifies: CH has 2 official seals, not 3

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - July 13, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City Legal Office has clarified that the city government has only two “official” seals of the Office of the Mayor.

City Attorney Rey Gealon, in an interview, said one seal is with 1521 inscription and the other one has none.

“There are two official seals. The one attached to the podium is detachable,” he said.

Gealon made the statement after Lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan, legal counsel of former mayor Tomas Osmeña, said the official seal of the mayor's office was the one used during the oathtaking of Mayor Edgardo Labella and his allies on June 30.

Gealon said the current administration just want to account all properties of the city government.

“Regardless of two or three or even a hundred seals, we have to account them because we are accountable to the people,” he said.

The official seal of the mayor's office was discovered missing Tuesday morning during Councilor Jerry Guardo's oath-taking before Labella on July 2.

The missing seal has one line below the figure of the Magellan’s Cross, while the other seal has a checkered design. The missing seal has the year 1521 inscribed under the lines, while the other seal has none. The missing seal has a broad depiction of the Magellan’s Cross, while the other has a leaner one. The missing seal has a white color under the Magellan’s Cross figure, while the other has gold in the background. The missing seal has a bigger inscription of the words City of Cebu, while the other sea uses a small typeface.

Cebu City Building Maintenance Section head Mejelito Cajes filed a complaint against Osmeña and 44 others before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas on July 8.

Ligutan said the seal used during the oathtaking of Labella was the official seal, which was reportedly taken by Cajes on June 25 in preparation for the inauguration.

“The city legal officer claims that the official seal is missing, and that the seal used during Mayor Labella's oath taking was a third version of the seal. This is a lie," he said earlier.

Ligutan said the reported third version is, in fact, the official seal.

Cajes, in his criminal and administrative cases, said the respondents removed the ceiling installations, cables and wires, tiles, floor and walls, pipes, toilet, lavatory, faucet, the mayor’s seal, and other fixtures attached to the immovable property owned by the city government.

The city’s Department of Engineering and Public Works estimated the damage of the “malicious demolition” of the office at P857,713.14 as stated in the program of works and estimates attached to the case.

Aside from causing “undue injury” to the city, Gealon said the respondents of the case should be held liable for the missing properties of the city government, like the seal.

The “missing seal” was reportedly given by the Suarez Brothers Company during Osmeña’s term.

Granting without admitting that public funds may not be used for the “missing seal,” Gealon said the fact remains that the seal was given on account of public office of the person who held that office.

“This means that it should accrue to the Cebu City government and it should remain with City Hall considering it is with the city government,” he said. — KBQ (FREEMAN)

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