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Palace orders Sonny to answer graft complaint

By: Morexette Erram April 13,2018 - 10:23 PM

Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña faces a one-year suspension and a criminal indictment for withholding the real property tax share of Barangay Daanlungsod in Toledo City.
CDN FILE PHOTO

The woes of suspended Toledo City John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña are far from over.

The Office of the President through Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs, Ryan Alvin Acosta has ordered Osmeña to answer within 15 days, a complaint filed by a certain Elmer Canillo, accusing him of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).

In his complaint submitted to Malacañang last March 20, Canillo, a resident from Barangay Dumlog, Toledo City, alleged that Osmeña purchased 12 brand new vehicles, closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV), constructed a sports complex, and hired a private contractor to haul garbage, using government funds, without the authority of the Toledo City Council.

These projects amounted to at least P57.2 million.

The suspended mayor is given until April 26 to submit his answer to the complaint.

Osmeña’s lawyer, Inocencio dela Cerna said they will challenge Canillo to file the complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas.

He said that if they find out that Canillo managed to get hold of documents to support his complaints surreptitiously, they will file damages against him.

“We can answer their complaints and prove that everything the mayor did was without any ill-intentions and did not violate any laws. This is just a calculated move to shackle the City Council and the mayor for personal gains so that (the President) can order a preventive suspension upon them,” said Dela Cerna.

“This is political harassment, and we’re tracing the individuals who may have helped this certain Canillo with filing these complaints. This is also why we’re questioning his actions. Why not file them before the Ombudsman?” Dela Cerna said.

Canillo is also the same complainant in the administrative cases filed against the 10 city councilors of Toledo City before the Office of the President for their failure to enact the ordinance granting P5 million to fund the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) bottom-up budgeting in 2016.

Osmeña is still serving the one-year suspension meted against him by the Office of the Ombudsman last September 2017 after finding him guilty of grave abuse of authority for his “undue refusal” to release the quarterly real property tax (RPT) shares of Barangay Daanlungsod in Toledo City. /Correspondent with Rosalie O. Abatayo

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TAGS: answer, complaint, orders, Palace, Sonny

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