Cebu City barangay captains cry harassment over cases filed by Osmeña
The legal battle that Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña waged against 37 barangay captains (village chiefs) in Cebu City was nothing but an attempt to harass the opposition, the mayor’s critics said.
Cebu City Councilors Joel Garganera and Philip Zafra, both of the opposition Barug Team Rama believed that the mayor’s action was meant to allegedly malign candidates, particularly the barangay captains who are seeking reelection on May 14.
“The mayor is just maligning us. Pakauwawan ta aron mahadlok ang mga tawo (He wanted to shame us to scare the people). He’s still trying to project that he’s powerful and that bisag unsay mahitabo karong (whatever happens this) election, he is still the mayor,” said Garganera.
For his part, Zafra questioned why Osmeña still brought the matter before the Office of the Ombudsman when he has submitted his barangay’s liquidation reports before the City Accounting Office last year yet.
“He also sent us a demand letter over the same subject last March. And we complied even if we already submitted them last year. Is it really necessary to bring this to the Ombudsman? This is just the mayor doing politics in time for the barangay elections,” said Zafra, the outgoing president of the Association of Barangay Councils-Cebu City Chapter (ABC-Cebu City).
Both Zafra and Garganera were interviewed during the CDNDebates, the fourth of the five Facebook Live candidates’ debates for the aspirants in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections that was aired on the Facebook page of Cebu Daily News.
On Thursday, Osmeña announced that he has filed administrative and criminal complaints against 22 more barangay chiefs, all from Barug Team Rama party, before the state’s anti-graft office, on top of the 15 previously charged.
Those charged Thursday were Mark Rizaldy Miral (Ermita), Alan Masecampo (San Antonio), Pancrasio Esparis (Quiot), Eloise Marie Lim-Kasim (Sta Cruz), Lorna Damalerio (Sapangdaku), Jerume Pagador (Luz), Elmer Abella (Duljo-Fatima), Restituto Atillo (Punta Princesa), Cyrus Lindog (San Roque), Raquel Avila (Kamagayan), Jerimias Nuñez (Pari-an), Altea Lim (Pardo – Poblacion), Maria Velasquez (Pulangbato), Abraham Desamparado (San Nicolas), Joventino Ardaba (San Jose), Ariel Yburan (Sawang Calero), Felix Limotan (Sirao), Nunilon Monares (Kalunasan), Majorita Cangmaong (Malubog), Harry Eran (Cogon – Pardo), Ramon Ylaya Jr. (Sinsin) and Leonilo Bontilao (Pit-os).
It came a week after he also filed grave misconduct charges against 15 barangay captains, namely, Garganera, Zafra, Trifonio Lequigan Jr. (Kamputhaw), Norman Navarro (Basak-San Nicolas), Maria Yvonne Feliciano (Calamba), Lemar Alcover (Sambag I), Julius Guioguio (Pasil), Yolandito Cagang (Basak-Pardo), Ramil Ayuman (Apas), Alexander Ibarita (Bonbon), Nerisa Antolihao (Budlaan), Anne Alcover (Agsungot), Wilson Bacor (Binaliw), Nieves Narra (Adlaon), and Dante Tabucal (Sudlon I)
On both complaints, Osmeña said the accused officials allegedly failed to return and liquidate part of the P800-million financial assistance given to them by the city government during Rama’s time, which was disallowed by the Commission on Audit (COA).
The funds were spent on projects and initiatives of the barangays in Cebu City.
But both Garganera and Zafra claimed that have already submitted their liquidation reports to state auditors and to the city accounting office more than year ago.
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