Saavedra to appeal dismissal of cases vs Tomas, ex-city officials over Kawit Island deal
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Businessman and whistleblower Crisologo Saavedra is not yet giving up on the criminal and administrative complaints that he filed against former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena and his City Council on the controversial P18 billion Kawit Island deal.
Saavedra said he will be filing a petition to ask the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas to reconsider its earlier decision to dismiss the criminal and administrative complaint that he filed.
“I’ll file an MR (motion for reconsideration),” said Saavedra in an interview with CDN Digital.
In 2018, Saavedra filed criminal and administrative complaints over the controversial P18 billion Kawit Island deal. The project paved the way for Gokongwei-owned Universal Hotel and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) to establish an integrated casino and resort in the South Road Properties (SRP).
But acting Assistant Ombudsman for the Visayas Jane Aguilar, in a 21-page decision promulgated January 27, junked the criminal and administrative cases for ‘lack of substantial evidence’. A copy of the decision was furnished to the media on Oct. 20.
Osmeña’s co-respondents in the case were then Councilors Margarita Osmeña, Dave Tumulak, Sisinio Andales, Alvin Arcilla, Eugenio Gabuya Jr., Gerry Guardo, Joy Augustus Young, Mary Ann delos Santos and Franklyn Ong who approved the ordinance that allowed the Gokongwei-owned company to establish an integrated casino and resort in Kawit Island, SRP and UHRI executives Frederick Go, Lance Gokongwei, James Go, Robina Gokongwei-Pe and Patrick Henry Go.
Saavedra insisted that Ombudsman-Visayas should look into the technicalities of how the city government awarded the P18-billion project in 2018.
He mentioned City Ordinance No. 2154 as his basis, saying that members of the private sector, when entering into joint venture agreements with the government, must meet the “technical and financial qualifications” prescribed by law.
“The private participants should have technical and financial capability. I never questioned the financial capability… It is the track record of the corporation, not of the individual offices,” Saavedra added.
The Camp of Osmeña has since welcomed the decision of the Ombudsman.
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