Osmeñas subject of complaint before Office of the President
THE drama surrounding Cebu City’s use of the Inayawan landfill seems to continue to hound the mayor, and this time including his wife.
The landfill had been the subject of the first-ever Writ of Kalikasan issued in Cebu which resulted in its closure.
But the closed landfill is again in the limelight as Mayor Tomas Osmeña and his wife Councilor Margarita Osmeña are both facing an administrative complaint before the Office of the President for reopening and using the facility last year.
Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman is accusing the Osmeñas of grave misconduct, abuse of authority, culpable violation of the Constitution and violation of Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Ayuman wants the Office of the President to put the two officials, whom he described as the “conjugal owners of city hall,” under a six-month preventive suspension pending the resolution of his complaint.
But Mayor Osmeña said the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill was never closed despite the order of former mayor Michael Rama; the city merely stopped using the landfill.
“There is a legal term for close. There is a process for that when you close a landfill and he ( Rama) did not do that. He cannot say, ‘I closed it.’ He stopped using it. So you can say ‘Maybe he closed it.’ But that is not accurate,” Osmeña said.
Instead he accused Ayuman of being motivated by money.
“What’s their point? They want somebody in Consolacion to make money, that to me is their point,” he said.
“It involves graft and corruption. I am just trying to explain to the Cebuanos. I am fighting graft and corruption. I am not fighting business,” the mayor added.
In his 14-page complaint filed last February 20, Ayuman said that as early as 2011, former mayor Michael Rama has already ordered the cessation of all activities in the landfill. And on June 2015, it was formally closed by the city.
But in July 2016, when Councilor Margarita Osmeña was acting mayor, Ayuman said she “unceremoniously reopened” the landfill and signed a commitment with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) without prior authorization from the City Council as well as prior public consultation.
And when Mayor Osmeña assumed office last year, Ayuman said he continued the landfill’s operation amid several complaints and opposition from residents, groups and even government agencies.
“The cavalier reopening and continuous operation of the landfill, which has become an open dumpsite, is therefore a clear manifestation of Respondents’ willful intent to disregard established rules,” the complaint read.
He cited the Notice of Violation issued by the DENR which found that the operation of the landfill had violated 13 policies of the office; an inspection report by the Department of Health (DOH) which recommended its immediate closure as it posed a risk to residents and establishments near the area; and a directive from DENR Secretary Gina Lopez herself to close the facility.
“Despite several government agencies pointing out the seemingly indefensible and inexcusable reopening and continuous operation of the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill, herein Respondents still insisted that there is no cause for worry in the present situation and thereby should be held administratively liable,” the complaint said.
Ayuman gave reporters a copy of his complaint during a press conference yesterday.
He said it is about time somebody stood up against the mayor who, he said, has been going after barangay officials in the city not allied with him.
“For six months, alis ka din diyan Mr. Mayor ug imong asawa (Mr. Mayor, you and your wife will be out of city hall),” Ayuman said, an obvious play on the mayor’s recent pronouncement to Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino who he told to “alis diyan” (go away).
He said at least 65 barangay captains identified with Team Rama have been suffering even before Osmeña started his administration last year.
Ayuman pointed out last year’s filing of carnapping charges against barangay captains who did not return their city-issued vehicles.
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