Councilor Garcia: Chicken issue is a political move

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | November 21,2020 - 01:25 PM
Cebu City Councilor Raymond Garcia listens to the discussion during one of the Cebu City Council sessions. | CDN Digital file photo

Cebu City Councilor Raymond Garcia says the opposition is behind the chicken issue and that he and Councilor Edu Rama have proof to prove the allegations wrong. | CDN Digital file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said that the series of cases filed against him and Councilor Eduardo Rama Jr., over alleged malversation of public property on the donated dressed chicken was a political move by the opposition. 

“Its is obvious, the opposition has a hand in this. They are using the issue to discredit the administration as the 2022 election draws near,” said Garcia in a phone interview with CDN Digital. 

Garcia and Rama are facing charges of Violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code or the Usurpation of official functions for allegedly accepting 17,000 donated chickens from a private company last May 2020. 

The chickens were allegedly sold to city residents at a very cheap price. 

Read: Rama: Complaints over chicken are political

The issue of the “lost chickens”  have been considered solved by Rama and Garcia as Rama presented to the council the proof that beneficiary barangays were able to receive the chickens. 

In spite of these documents, three separate complaints have been filed at the Office of the Ombudsman by residents of the city alleging that Rama and other councilors of graft and corruption, malversation of public property, and grave misconduct for the donated chickens. 

Read: Sambag 1 resident wants Labella to reopen investigation on ‘donated chickens’

The latest complaint is that of a Jonel Salceda, a Barangay Labangon resident who claimed that Rama and Garcia usurped the authority of Mayor Edgardo Labella by accepting the donated chickens without his authority. 

A Barangay Sambag I resident, Marco Lingoyon, wrote to Labella asking for the deed of donation over the chickens to “put the issue of the lost chickens to rest.”

Read: Labella leaves probe on lost chickens to Ombudsman

Yet in a response letter to Gingoyon dated October 14, 2020, Labella said he never authorized the acceptance of the donated chickens, nor was he authorized by the council to sign a deed of donation for such goods. 

“Firstly, I have not executed a Deed of Donation for the donated chickens…nor have I authorized anyone to sign a Deed of Donation in my behalf,” said the mayor in the letter. 

This portion of the letter was Salcedo’s basis in his complaint affidavit that Rama and Garcia have usurped the authority of the mayor by accepting the donation. 

“Clearly, respondents Rama, Jr. and Garcia accepted the donation of CP Foods to the Cebu City government without any authority to accept the donation on behalf of the city, and no deed of donation was entered and executed therefor,” said Salcedo in his affidavit. 

Garcia, the issue has been rehashed too many times, a sign that parties against the administration are milking the issue. 

“It’s one thing to accuse. The question is do they have proof?” said Garcia. 

Garcia said that he and Rama would not fear anything because the case would most likely be dismissed due to lack of proof. 

And if should the case proceed, he said that the he and Rama had the necessary documents to prove that the chickens reached their intended benificiaries. 

Opposition councilors are yet to comment on this allegation by Garcia, but in previous statements, one of the complainants already denied that opposition politicians were behind the cases he filed. 

Gingoyon said he only would only want justice for his fellow city residents./dbs

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