For refusing to receive an installment payment from a buyer of the South Road Properties (SRP) lots sold in 2015, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and another city official are facing a criminal and administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.
Apas barangay captain Ramil Ayuman filed the complaint on Thursday afternoon.
Ayuman accused the mayor and City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo of violating Section 3 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as for grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and conduct unbecoming of a government employee.
Ayuman said he decided to file the complaint after learning that the mayor issued a formal directive to Camarillo that the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) should not receive any installment payment made by the SM-Ayala Consortium and Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) which were the buyers of the SRP lots sold by the previous administration of former mayor Michael Rama in 2015.
“For me, it was tantamount to economic sabotage. Anugon kaayo ang kwarta (What a pity not to accept the money) which could be used for basic services and for programs and projects,” he told reporters.
Last July 27, Mayor Osmeña sent a letter to Camarillo directing her to refrain from receiving the installment payments from either the SM-Ayala Consortium or Filinvest.
Osmeña said that the contracts covering the sale of the SRP lots by the previous administration to the two developers were “irregularly executed” that’s why the payment made is “devoid of any legal and/or contractual basis.”
In his complaint, Ayuman said the city was supposed to receive P1.66 billion as second installment from one of the developers.
Camarillo earlier admitted that one of the developers visited her office on August 1 to make the payment, but she refused it following the mayor’s order.
Cebu Daily News tried to get Camarillo’s comment on the complaint but calls and texts to her cell phone number yesterday were not answered.
Tomas FB reaction
In a post on Facebook, Osmeña said it was the fourth case filed by Ayuman against him.
“Lol KSP (kulang sa pansin). What’s this, the 4th case you filed against me? Guol ka na wala gipatulan ang tulo? (You’re sad that no one paid attention to the three other cases you filed?),” the mayor said.
“This is why the barangay elections cannot come soon enough. Then Mr. Ayuman can spend all his time filing all the cases he wants while someone else actually does the job tending to the needs of the people of Apas,” Osmena added in his post.
Ayuman, in his complaint, is asking the Ombudsman-Visayas to put Mayor Osmeña and Camarillo under preventive suspension pending investigation of the case against them.
Ayuman extensively explained that the SRP lots sale made in 2015 was covered by the needed documents including a resolution from the City Council authorizing then Mayor Rama to do the sale.
Following the sale, which was done through public bidding, Ayuman also said that the city entered into a Deed of Sale on Installment with the winning bidders.
But when Mayor Osmeña won in the May 2016 elections, the mayor immediately announced that he would cancel the sale.
“Finally, the evident bad faith and malice on the part of respondent Osmeña were manifested by the fact that there is no factual or legal basis for him to declare the sale of SRP lots as illegal or irregular, other than his wild assumption, misguided belief and selfish motive that he can sell these parcels of land for a higher price,” read the complaint.
“Thus respondent Osmeña made it his personal mission to unlawfully pursue and persecute the SRP lot buyers by unilaterally and extra-judicially seeking rescission of the subject contracts for the sale of the SRP lots,” it further read.
Ayuman said the officials violated Sec 3 of RA 3019 which prohibits “giving unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in official functions through manifest partiality or evident bad faith.”
He said the officials’ decision caused “undue damage, prejudice, and injury” to the SRP lot buyers who have already paid at least P8 billion as 50 percent downpayment in 2015. This money is already in the city’s coffers.
The city’s refusal to accept the installment payment also constituted grave misconduct, according to Ayuman, since there was a valid and binding contract that the city should have followed and honored.