Tom’s letter nothing but lie
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - July 25, 2019 - 12:00am

Just when we thought the issue about destroying the mayor’s office has died down, we were wrong. Former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña is once again back in the news after sending a letter to Mayor Edgardo Labella requesting that a construction firm be allowed to continue restoring the office to its 2016 state. To recall, Osmeña ordered the mayor’s office stripped bare, down to the last toilet bowl and tile and floor slab, just two days shy from officially relinquishing his position to Labella.

According to Osmeña’s letter, his order was to remove his personal belongings and restore the office to its condition before he renovated it in 2016, but his work was reportedly disrupted when Labella’s lawyers intervened. Osmeña added: “The work was supposed to continue the next day. However, your lawyers Rey Gealon and Floro Casas Jr. interfered on June 28, 2019. They also brought in elements of the Philippine National Police to the office. This caused the unfinished work that was brought to the attention of the media, and the media frenzy immediately followed.” As the media spectacle is now over, wrote Osmeña, and sine he just recently returned to Cebu City from abroad, he is now asking Mayor Labella to finish restoring his office.

I wrote about this issue when I had a meeting with my good friend, Engr. Ricky Dakay of Dakay Construction who was asked by the former mayor to send workers “to retrieve his personal belongings.” But later in the evening, the former mayor was told by his bodyguard who supervised the work that Dakay workers did not destroy anything. So the former mayor called up and ordered the workers to remove everything, including the tiles, the flooring and the toilet bowl, something that Engr. Dakay was no longer informed or told.

As what the former mayor wrote to Mayor Labella: “I am writing this letter to ask you to allow my contractor to continue with the restoration of the office to its 2016 condition.” Wait a minute! When this happened nearly a month ago, the former mayor did not give any response or remark to the media in Cebu (perhaps because he calls it a “media spectacle”). But I recall listening to his radio interview over DZMM which was aired by ANC with Osmeña “justifying what he had done to his office and insisting that he was only teaching the Cebu City Council a lesson for refusing to fund his office.”

So the first thing I needed to do before writing this piece was to call Engr. Dakay, who was in Manila, to ask him whether he was ordered to destroy then finish the office. Engr. Dakay’s story was the same -- that he was asked by Osmeña to send workers to the mayor’s office “to retrieve his personal belongings” and nothing else, and that there was no order to destroy permanent fixtures in the office. So for the record, I asked him whether or not he was “the contractor” that the former mayor mentioned in his letter to Mayor Labella. Engr. Dakay said “No.” This is a very important point in the sense that if Dakay Construction was ordered to restore the office to its 2016 condition, then Engr. Dakay would have told me about this. But in the end, it is not true.

Reading the former mayor’s letter published on Facebook gives me an idea that rather than come up with a letter of apology to the Cebuanos who were aghast at what former he had done, he found another way to try to present himself as “innocent” of the horrible way that the workers destroyed his office. This, by saying that the lawyers of Mayor Labella stopped his men. In truth, when all mayor’s office was in total shambles, no one tried to stop them simply because there was no more work to be done. And the former mayor was satisfied with what he did.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

EDGARDO LABELLA
Philstar
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