City Legal to COA: Probe Mayor’s Office’s ‘destruction’
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The City Legal Office has requested the Commission on Audit (COA) to investigate the “destruction” of the Mayor’s Office by former Mayor Tomas Osmeña on June 28, 2019 or two days before he stepped down as mayor.
The City Legal Office has sent a letter to COA on Monday, July 22, 2019, to verify if the stripping bare of the office was in violation of the COA guidelines that any demolition of government property must undergo a COA appraisal first.
Lawyer Rey Gealon, city legal officer, wrote in the letter that before a government property should be condemned through “demolition,” the property must be deemed an unserviceable property with no commercial value, or is beyond economic repair, or there is no willing receiver, and/or the appraised value is less than the administrative cost of sale.
This is in relation to the COA Circular No. 89-296 or the “Audit Guidelines on the Divestment or Disposal of Property and Other Assets of National Government Agencies and Instrumentalities, Local Government Units and Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations” that governs the procedure for the disposal of government property.
According to the regulations, the COA must inspect the property prior to its destruction to determine if there is justification for the same and to appraise the value of the property.
Gealon said that the Office of the Mayor located at the 8th floor of the Executive Building of Cebu City Hall was covered by this COA regulation as part of a government property.
He also said that the actions of the former mayor to strip bare the Mayor’s office from fixtures was a clear “destruction” of the property especially when some of the electrical wirings, sinks, and partitions were destroyed.
“In this light, the City of Cebu is formally requesting your good office to verify and conduct an investigation whether the above described procedure was conducted with respect to the destruction of the Office of the Mayor which was formerly the VIP Lounge,” wrote Gealon.
The City Legal Office already filed charges of theft and graft and corruption against Osmeña at the Office of the Ombudsman on July 8 for the incident.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are considering to press charges as well after they finished the review of the investigation on the incident.
Osmeña already said in previous statements that he only took back his personal belongings as he spent P2 million in the renovation of the Mayor’s Office.
He said the office was only returned to the way it was back in 2001./dbs
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