Edu, Raymond face complaint
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - November 22, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — A string of charges has been filed against Cebu City Councilors Eduardo “Edu” Rama Jr. and Raymond Alvin Garcia before the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to the 17,000 dressed chickens donated to the city, which allegedly ended up being sold to the public.

The complainant, Jonel Saceda of Barangay Labangon, claimed that Rama and Garcia accepted the donation to the city government without any authority to accept the donation on behalf of the city, and no deed of donation was entered and executed therefor.

As stated in the complaint-affidavit, the respondents could be charged for Violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code for performing an act that pertains exclusively to the Mayor of Cebu City; Violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 for causing undue injury to the public and to the city government through evident bad faith; and violation of CSC Resolution No. 06-0538 for serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.

This is the second complaint Sacedo has filed against the respondents before the Ombudsman over the same factual circumstances.

Last August, he also filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against Rama and his executive assistant Rona Lapiña for malversation of public property under Section 217 of the Revised Penal Code, violation of Sec. 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming of public official.

This time, Saceda attached to his complaint a letter dated October 14, 2020 sent by the office of Mayor Edgardo Labella to a Marco Licinio Gingoyon, a resident of Barangay Sambag 1, “categorically denying” having authorized anyone to accept and/or receive donated chickens on behalf of the city.

Further, the letter also purportedly states that Labella had not been furnished any document relating to the donated chickens, specifically the alleged list of barangay officials and individuals who received the donated chickens from Rama.

Labella’s alleged letter read: “Firstly, I have not executed a Deed of Donation for the donated chickens from CP Foods nor have I authorized anyone else to sign a Deed of Donation in my behalf. Ergo, I could not provide you a copy of the first two documents precisely for the reason that they do not exist.

“As for the Authentic List of barangay officials and individuals showing their signatures and number of chickens that they received from Councilor Rama, my Office was also not furnished of any document to that effect. Hence, I believe that it is best for you to seek a copy of this list from the office of Councilor Rama himself, who you identified to have allegedly distributed the donated chickens.

“Lastly, you also requested for documents signed by the individual beneficiaries who have received the donated chickens attesting to the fact that they were given free. Just as the third requested document, my Office was not furnished a copy thereof. Hence, I could not provide the same to you.”

Saceda said Rama and Garcia had no intention of divulging to the public that CP Foods donated thousands of chickens to the city.

“Were it not for the inquiry by councilor Young, the public would not have known about the donated chickens, and respondents Rama, Jr. and Garcia would not have thought of securing an authority from the city council for Mayor Labella to sign a deed of donation,” read Saceda’s complaint-affidavit.

“Apparently, respondents Rama Jr., Garcia, and Faelnar’s acts constitute dishonesty for concealing the truth not only to the public but also to the city government with regard to the donation of CP Foods. The concealed acts showed clear intent to commit material gain and corruption, because in fact the donated chickens, which they were not authorized to receive on behalf of the city, were subsequently sold for profit,” it added.

Saceda claimed that “our residents have lost trust in city government officials like respondents Rama, Jr. Garcia, and Faelnar because of their indispensable participation in the matter of the missing donated chickens. The obliquity of their acts even became graver considering that they did them in this time of unprecedented crisis and extreme public want.”

Also implicated in Saceda’s complaint is Eugenio “Jing Jing” Faelnar, Mayor’s Information and Liaison Officer (MILO) of Barangay Guadalupe.

Reactions

Sought for comment, Rama said he has not received the official complaint yet, but said he is ready to answer it.

Garcia, who is also yet to receive the complaint, said their “political opponents, they will always try to look for issues against the administration.”

“Well I haven’t seen it (complaint). But, of course, we’re always ready to answer the complaint, for we obviously have nothing to hide,” said Garcia.

The FREEMAN tried to reach Faelnar for his comment but to no avail as of this writing. — JMD (FREEMAN)

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