Ombud starts fact-finding probe against Sonny O over P210-M ‘clean and green’ funds’ claims
CEBU, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas will start with the fact-finding investigation on the complaints against Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña over the alleged misuse of the city’s P210 million funds under the “clean and green” program.
Lawyer Pablo John Garcia, who is running against Osmeña for representative of the third district of Cebu, posted on Facebook a copy of a letter from the Ombudsman informing him that his request for investigation of “possible graft practices” against the mayor and other city officials had already been docketed.
“This is to formally inform you that your letter dated March 11, 2019 against Mayor John Henry Osmeña, et al, Toledo City, Cebu has been referred for fact-finding investigation and now docketed as FF-V-19-0096,” the letter signed by Case Records, Evaluation, Monitoring, and Enforcement Bureau (CREMEB) Acting Chief Sarah Jo Vergara reads.
Garcia requested last month for the Ombudsman to probe “possible graft violations”of Osmeña and other officials for disbursing a sum of P210 million as salary of job order employees under the clean and green program. Garcia claimed that the names under the JO employees list who received the salaries were allegedly ghost workers.
The other respondents in the complaint letter filed by Garcia are Justin Anthony De Jesus, the mayors’s executive assistant; City Budget Office Acting Chief Gethsemane Mahinay; City Administrator Ferdinand Marquez; City Treasurer Leonardo Rivera, Jr., City Councilors Marjorie Perales, Leo Dolino, Ophelio Dolino, other program implementors of the the Clean and Green Program.
Lawyer Inocencio Dela Cerna, legal counsel of Osmeña, told CDN Digital via message reply that the concerned individuals and offices shall be cooperating in the Ombudsman’s fact finding process.
“First and foremost, we welcome the move of the Office of the Ombudsman to conduct a fact-finding investigation [regarding the] Clean and Green if only to prove that the complaint filed had no basis in law and in fact,” Dela Cerna said.
Dela Cerna, however, said that the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente should decide first on the motion that they filed asking him to inhibit from hearing the complaint considering that Garcia and Clemente were classmates in law school at the University of the Philippines./dbs
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