Rama: Complaints over chicken are political
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Councilor Eduardo Rama Jr. is once again facing a complaint over alleged selling of donated chickens to the public — a month after he faced the City Council to explain that he was innocent and that the allegations against him were untrue.
A certain Jonel Saceda, a resident of Barangay Labangon, filed a complaint of malversation of public property against the councilor and Rona Lapiña, and accused them of selling the chickens.
Saceda is the second city resident, who filed a complaint against Rama. The first one were a group of Sambag I residents, who claimed to have been sold donated chickens and has written a letter to Mayor Edgardo Labella asking for an investigation on the matter.
In this new complaint filed at the Office of the Ombudsman, Saceda has attached the affidavits of three former employees of the donor company, who could attest that the office of Councilor Rama allegedly sold the chickens to the public.
It can be noted that the private company, which donated 17,000 live chickens to the city government, has asked for the deed of donation for these chickens, which they had not yet received.
The City Council already approved the deed of donation, and it is awaiting the signature of Mayor Edgardo Labella.
Rama also already explained himself to the council on July 2020 saying he has affidavits of barangay beneficiaries who received the chickens.
In his complaint, Saceda also said that in his barangay, the Mayor’s Information and Liaison Office (MILO) had allegedly been selling cheap chickens in the midst of the controversy.
The selling allegedly stopped when talks on the “lost chickens” became widespread in the city.
“Then, I remembered, MILO personnel in our barangay also sold chickens to residents in our barangay. They stopped selling chickens only after the controversy of the donated chickens broke out. I also heard that MILO officers asked some residents to sign a document proving that they received the chickens for free. The residents refused to sign because they did not receive the chickens for free,” said Saceda.
For his part, Rama said he believed that these complaints were politically motivated especially since he received information that the three former employees of the donor company were hired by a barangay captain belonging to the opposition party.
“This is another politically-motivated maneuver. First, the complaint came from a resident of Sambag, which was not part of the nine barangays that were distributed to. After pointing that out, another one from Labangon pops up. I also received information that these three alleged witnesses and former employees are currently employed by a barangay captain aligned with BO-PK,” said the councilor.
Rama said he had no reason or intent to sell anything donated, chickens or otherwise.
“These grave accusations against me will continue as it is in politics, and I maintain all these to be false, malicious and libelous,” he added.
The councilor said that confusion on the allegedly sold donated chickens might have sprung from the fact that the company, who offered to dress the 17,000 chickens for free as a form of service donation to Cebu City also held a Chicken Caravan around the time the donated chickens were distributed.
The company already issued a statement regarding the controversy and said they indeed were selling chicken at P110 to P130 a piece because of oversupply.
However, the sold chickens are not the same as the donated chickens.
Rama maintained that his office had not sold any of the donated chickens and had successfully distributed these to the barangay beneficiaries./dbs
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