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Osmeña: I cannot be held liable for questioning SRP sales

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | February 12,2020 - 02:35 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña belied criminal liability for the delay of the development of the controversial 45-hectare lot at the South Road Properties (SRP) sold to developer giants in 2015. 

Former Barangay Apas chief Ramil Ayuman filed charges of graft and corruption against Osmeña for allegedly delaying deliberately the development of the 45-hectare property sold to the SM-Ayala consortium and Filinvest, causing the loss of investment opportunities, job, and taxes.

The Office of the Ombudsman found sufficient basis to proceed with criminal investigation of the case and ordered Osmeña to answer the allegations of Ayuman.

“I respectfully submit that I cannot be held criminally liable questioning the contracts entered into by Mayor (Michael) Rama and the SM-Ayala Consortium and the Filinvest Group,” said Osmeña in his 46-page counteraffidavit. 

Osmeña argued that the 2015 contracts were invalid as former mayor Michael Rama did not have the authority to sign the contract since he was not authorized by the Sangguniang Panglungsod. 

“As a city mayor, I have been guided by a simple precept—do what is good for the people of Cebu City. I am also guided by my mandate to enforce the law as a local chief executive,” he said. 

Osmeña has already filed cases of graft and corruption against Rama and also filed a petition for preliminary injunction against the SRP sales. 

In his affidavit, the former mayor pointed out that Ayuman was unaware of the peculiarity of the SRP sale especially how the Sanggunian passed a resolution specifically prohibiting Rama from signing the contract. 

He also claimed Ayuman was ignorant of the supplemental agreement signed between Rama and the consortium that the city must provide an ordinance ratifying the sale. 

Osmeña said no ordinance was passed. 

 “If complainant Ayuman is faulting me for delaying the implementation of the ‘illegal’ contracts that were entered to by then Mayor Rama and the SM-Ayala Consortium and the Filinvest Group, I am assuring him that I will do everything I can order to stop the implementation of the illegal contracts,” he said. 

Ayuman has yet to comment on Osmeña’s counter affidavit yet in his previous statements, he said he was fighting for the people of Cebu City who lose opportunities due to the delay of the development of the lots. /bmjo 

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