Osmeña strips off his office of furnishings as he ends his term

By: Cris Evert B. Lato-Ruffolo, Rosalie O. Abatayo June 28,2019 - 06:02 PM

This a before and after photo of the Cebu City Mayor’s Office: At left photo is the Mayor’s Office on November 2017 while at right photo is the Mayor’s Office on June 28, when outgoing Mayor Osmeña removed his ‘personal things’ from the office. | CDN file photo and Gerard Francisco

CEBU CITY, Philippines —Outgoing Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña served with an office that resembles his leadership: Straightforward and no-nonsense.

White porcelain tile flooring, two sets of leather couches, and wooden desks occupied by the mayor’s executive staff used to fill the receiving area of the Office of the Mayor at the eighth floor of Cebu City Hall’s Executive Building.

Glass dividers also stood to distinctively separate the conference room and workspaces of his office staff from the rest of the receiving area.

At the inner room of the office, where Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña holds office, were white-painted walls with portraits hanging on them. Behind the mayor’s desk was a large map of Cebu City. A metallic seal of the city also sticks on the column beside the mayor’s table. Its floor was a wood-themed tile.

But on Friday, June 28, two days before the official last day of his term as mayor before incoming Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella formally takes charge, city hall workers found the office on the Executive Building’s eighth floor stripped to not even its barest essentials.

The room, which was once the venue of many important meetings that contributed to Cebu’s economic and social progress, looks like an abandoned construction zone.

Most of the tiles have been taken out. Only raw concrete can be seen in the washroom. Gone are the glass dividers. The lighting fixtures and ceiling are gone as well. The former vibrant office is a gray space with dirty floor and bare walls.

But a staff member of the mayor’s office who refused to be named said the outgoing mayor is “just taking out what he personally paid for.”

The staff member said Osmeña requested to be allocated funds for office renovation when he sat down as mayor in 2016

“His request for a budget to renovate his office was rejected by the council at that time,” the staff member told CDN Digital.

Osmeña reportedly spent P2 million of personal funds for the renovation of his office in 2016.

Read more: Labella to take oath as new mayor in front of Associate Justice

Outgoing Vice Mayor and Mayor-elect Edgardo Labella, in a phone interview, said he was surprised with the mayor’s gesture as he ended his term.

“I was really surprised. Why did he even have to do that? I never expected that to happen,” Labella said.

He said that that the scene of “ruins” in the mayor’s office maybe “a microcosm of the way someone had left an entire city in shambles.”

Labella said they were considering filing charges against Osmeña and his staff for allegedly destroying the Mayor’s office./dbs

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