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Rama opposes case transfers from Ombud Visayas to Central Office

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | June 19,2024 - 07:02 PM

rama case transfers

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Suspended Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama opposed the recent attempt to transfer two cases against him from the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas to the Ombudsman Central Office in Quezon City.

In a press release issued on June 19, Rama expressed deep concern over what he described as “a suspicious and arbitrary pattern of transfers” made by the Ombudsman Central Office.

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The first case involves a graft complaint filed by Jun Del Bontuyan against Rama and others, specifically concerning alleged irregularities within the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD).

According to a report on August 23, 2023, Bontuyan accused Rama and several others of engaging in activities constituting graft, a serious offense under Philippine law.

The complaint stemmed from the city government’s occupancy of a building on P. Burgos and M.C. Briones Streets, owned by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) after Prince Warehouse Club ceased using it on September 20, 2021.

Bontuyan alleged that despite negotiations between the city and MCWD regarding the building’s use, no formal contract was signed. Nevertheless, the city proceeded with renovations for its own purposes.

The second case revolves around a nepotism complaint filed by Inday Josa Chongbian against Rama on Jan. 24, 2023.

The complaint alleges that Rama engaged in nepotistic practices, favoring relatives or close associates in public appointments or employment.

Saceda alleged that the mayor appointed his wife’s brothers while “unjustly” removing at least 800 employees from City Hall upon the start of the mayor’s fresh term in July 2022.

With this, the suspended mayor, through his press statement, detailed several critical points opposing the transfer of cases to the Central Office.

Rama stressed that both cases originated in Cebu City, involved local parties, and concerned matters within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman Visayas.

He argued that these factors justify keeping the cases under OMB Visayas, which has already held hearings and gathered relevant documents.

Rama also expressed concerns about due process, fearing that transferring the cases to the Ombudsman Central Office could compromise his right to a fair trial.

He emphasized OMB Visayas’ capability to assess the complaints fairly, given their prior involvement in the adjudication process.

He cited issues in cases like the “Atuel case” (OMB-C-C-APR-24-0028 and OMB-C-A-APR-24-0033), citing instances of duplicate orders and surprise preventive suspensions without adequate notice or opportunity for defense.

“Undeniably, the surreptitious preventive suspension and the sudden, overzealous interest in the cases against Mayor Rama bewail a suspicious pattern of behavior on the part of OMB Central. What propels these apparent concentrated efforts against Mayor Rama is something known only to the OMB Central Office,” read the concluding part of Rama’s statement.

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TAGS: Mayor Mike Rama, Ombudsman, suspension

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