The Torre de Davide is a goner
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - July 3, 2019 - 12:00am

Monday morning was a busy day for Governor Gwen F. Garcia who led the flag-raising ceremonies at the Provincial Capitol with Vice Governor Hilario “Jun Jun” Davide III in attendance. Then later the two met in the governor’s office and since I wasn’t there we really don’t know what the two discussed. But what was quite dramatic was when Governor Gwen inspected the construction site of what would have been the “Torre de Davide” or the 20-story resource center, which she ordered filled.

At this point, I hope they can fix that place and turn it into a reusable parking lot, which the Provincial Capitol should have and they can actually make money in that kind of business. I was always against the plan and eventual construction of that 20-story building as it truly disturbs the physical and historical arrangement of the historic Provincial Capitol.

I have seen so many black-and-white photos of the Provincial Capitol when there were really no buildings around it, and it was truly imposing to see. Many of those photos were taken in 1938 after the building was finished. Perhaps Vice Governor Davide should ask himself why the Americans who constructed the Capitol didn’t build a 20-story building beside it at that time. Simply put…it would destroy the beauty of the Capitol and this is what exactly would have happened if that building were constructed. Thanks to the Cebuano voters for electing back Governor Gwen who then wasted no time in stopping this stupid project.

* * *

What has gone viral in social media has started to slow down a little bit, until I heard that the same thing has happened in the office of former councilor Mary Ann delos Santos with photos splashed in the news and Facebook page and my initial comment on this was to simply mark them as birds of the same feather. So the first question to ask is whether or not these former public officials removed all their furnishings and other items and kept their offices like when they took them over? From the looks of it, I would like to believe that as far as the office of former mayor Tomas Osmeña is concerned I think, it had tiles and a toilet bowl…which he may have replaced. But he shouldn’t have removed those permanent items like tiles or the ceiling.

However, at this point, I submit that I didn’t study the rules and regulations of how office items should be kept by public officials. However, now that this has happened, I suggest to the new Cebu City Council to come up with an ordinance that offices being used by public officials should be kept intact if they are no longer in line of work. If these officials remove anything in their offices because of their claims that they personally own them, they can only remove items not bolted down or considered as permanent. In fact, the Office of the General Services must identify items in all offices of public officials, which items can and cannot be removed. Removing them without permission should be penalized.

Meanwhile we learned that the Department of the Interior and Local Government is set to investigate Osmeña for stripping the mayor’s office of all its facilities and fixtures before turning it over to his successor. Apparently, DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that Osmeña’s action could have been done in bad faith and could affect delivery of public services to the constituents of Cebu City. No doubt that the stripping off the mayor’s office of everything, from the ceiling to floor tiles, rendering the office unusable and completely bare three days before the end of his term, was highly questionable or even criminal. DILG has to tell us, which laws the former mayor has broken when he wrecked his office.

Also, the DILG must look into what the former mayor claimed, that he did so through a certification from the Department of General Services (DGS) that shelves, lights, plumbing fixtures, partitions and doors, ceiling and floor works are not owned by the city government but are his personal property. Mind you, this is the bone of contention to find out his culpability. Mayor Labella was correct when he pointed out that Cebu City and the Cebuanos own offices and fixtures inside offices. So it may be that the DGS was also wrong. We’ll find out soon enough as the week goes on.

vsbobita@gmail.com

GWEN GARCIA
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