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Alcover says Team Barug Rama misused government resources

He also disclosed that attendance was encouraged by a current city hall official

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN | June 15,2024 - 07:00 AM

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Councilor Jun Alcover alleges coerced attendance and misuse of government resources by Team Barug Rama event at Plaza Sugbo last June 12. | GFX: Christian Dave Cuizon

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu City Councilor Pastor “Jun” Alcover accuses Team Barug Rama of misusing government resources in relation to an event the party mounted at Plaza Sugbo on June 12.

Councilor Alcover disclosed that attendees to the event were reportedly encouraged to join it by a senior official from Cebu City Hall.

According to Alcover, concerns have been raised regarding the nature of text messages sent to mobilize participants for the Independence Day celebration.

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“Na worry man gud mi [Acting Mayor Raymond Garcia] kay daghan kaayo query, nangutana unsay involvement sa syudad sa mobilization ni Mayor Mike Rama kay duna man guy text messages,” Alcover said.

In an interview on Friday, June 14, Alcover named Ian Hassamal, the current department head of the Department of General Services (DGS), and a close associate of suspended Mayor Michael Rama.

He cited a specific message allegedly sent by Team Barug Rama member Hassamal instructing city personnel, including tanods, lupons, garbage collectors, and loaders receiving honoraria, to attend the Plaza Sugbo event.

The message reportedly read, “Good morning. Please advise all personnel receiving honoraria sa City, particularly sa tanods, lupins, bro, and garbage driver and loader to attend the June 12 Independence Mass at Plaza Sugbo 5 p.m. as per instruction of Ian Hassamal.”

The alleged message was also posted by the Cebu Updates Facebook page on June 11 at 12:14 p.m., accompanied by the caption:

“​​Pangutana: Naa pa ba diay gahum nga mo-order ang suspended mayor sa City Hall employees ug Barangay Workers nga mo-attend sa iyang personal nga kalihukan bisan klaro man nga suspended na siya?… And nganong nagbuot-buot man si Ian Hassamal pagpatawag sa mga Barangay Workers nga dili man siya maoy acting mayor sa Cebu City karon?” the caption reads.

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Alcover stressed the concerns raised about Hassamal’s role where they questioned the appropriateness of a department head issuing such directives.

Alcover further expressed concern regarding the potential use of government vehicles in connection with the event.

He noted that if any government vehicles were indeed used, it would be a separate issue due to the suspension, which prohibits the suspended mayor from utilizing government resources.

Alcover clarified that he currently has no knowledge of any specific reports regarding this matter but mentioned that an investigation into the issue was indicated.

Moreover, the councilor stated that the course of action regarding this matter lies with the Acting Mayor, as he personally did not have any involvement.

He mentioned that it is up to the Acting Mayor to investigate if there were any violations committed by Team Barug Rama.

“Depende nani sa Acting Mayor og unsay iyang aksyon ani kay ako wala man ko’y [involvement] ani. Icheck daw niya kong duna bay violation,” he said.

Despite being an ally of Mike Rama and having run and won under the same political banner during the 2022 elections, Jun Alcover clarified that he did not receive an invitation to the event nor did he attend.

He said that even if he had received an invitation, he would have carefully considered whether or not to attend.

CDN Digital reached out to Ian Hassamal of Team Barug Rama, but no official response was provided as of press time.

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According to the Local Government Code of the Philippines and policies established by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), a suspended mayor is legally barred from exercising the functions of their office, which includes issuing directives to government employees or convening official meetings with barangay officials.

Suspension involves a temporary removal from office, during which the mayor’s powers are transferred to another designated official, such as the vice mayor or an appointed acting mayor.

Therefore, if a suspended mayor attempts to instruct government employees to send advisories for a meeting with barangay officials, several critical points arise.

Firstly, the suspended mayor lacks the legal authority to direct government personnel or call official gatherings.

Secondly, government employees are obliged to adhere to the directives of the acting or officially recognized authority during the suspension period; failure to comply could lead to administrative or legal consequences.

Thirdly, any meetings convened by a suspended mayor may not be recognized as official or valid, potentially rendering decisions made in such settings null and void.

Lastly, there is an ethical imperative for government employees to uphold ethical standards and respect the rule of law, including acknowledging the authority vested in the acting official or designated authority figure amidst the suspension.

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TAGS: Cebu politics, gov't funds

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