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Is politics behind Rama’s suspension order?

By: Pia Piquero - CDN Digital | May 10,2024 - 11:26 AM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is not letting down his guard when he says that the 6-month preventive suspension has “political” implications.

Rama said he is not that naive to think that the suspension has no political nature, and he would commit mental dishonesty if he were to deny it.

When he was asked during a press conference in the evening on May 9, right after his prayer rally, if he meant Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia  was behind the said order, Rama instead replied, “Ask her… Ask her.”

However, before the question, he addressed the long-standing political controversy involving him and the governor.

Rama reiterated the issues where the governor was “intruding and impeding,” concerning the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), and the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT).


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“Dili ko palaaway nga pagkatawo, labi na babaye,” he said.

(I am not one who picks fights, especially with women.)

On May 2, the Ombudsman made its decision on the administrative case filed by four City Hall employees – Filomena Atuel, Maria Almicar Dionggzon, Sybil Ann Ybañez, and Chito Dela Cerna – against Rama and some officers last April.

In an eight-page resolution, Ombudsman Samuel Martires said they found sufficient grounds to put Rama and several City Hall executives under preventive suspension for grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a public officer and conduct prejudicial to the best interest among others.

According to Martires, there is ‘strong evidence’ showing the respondents of their guilt and the charges lodged against them.

Atuel, Diongzon, Ybañez and Dela Cerna sought the Ombudsman’s assistance over the city government’s failure to pay their salaries for 10 months.

It stemmed from the city government’s decision to reassign them to new roles in what the complainants described as acts of oppression and discrimination.

Regarding the salaries, Rama stated he had already arranged the payment of salaries for the employees.

He said he has been instructing City Administrator Collin Rosell to address the complaints of the four employees, and even willing to shoulder the amount own pocket.

Rama mentioned that as soon as the employees aired their grievances in the local media, he promptly directed his subordinates to monitor the situation and rectify any issues if necessary.

The mayor even said that they have documents to prove that the salaries of the four employees were already paid.

Rama also questioned why he was included in the suspension when he was not even in charge of the payment of salaries for City Hall employees.

“Dili man ko payroll maker uy. Nganong ako man? Ako gyud?” he asked.

(I do not a payroll maker. Why me? Is it really me?)

However, contrary to what Rama stated about the payment being already made, Ybañez, one of the affected employees, informed reporters via email that Dr. Theresa Rosell, the acting city assessor, had signed their payroll but only four months’ worth of salaries were covered in the payrolls signed.

She stated that their salaries for July to December 2023 are still pending, as these will be charged to the prior year’s account and must undergo approval by the city administrator and the Sangguniang Panglalawigan. /with reports from Morexette Marie Erram

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TAGS: Cebu, Cebu City, politics

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