Council questions solicitation letter for bottled water
IS Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama asking for donations of bottled mineral water from commercial establishments? If so, is this legal?
Councilor Sisinio Andales asked this during last Wednesday’s City Council session. He posted on his Facebook account a photo of the solicitation letter written by the mayor’s secretary Belinda Navasquez and supposedly signed by Rama.
The June 16 letter asked commercial establishments “to share bottled water for the upcoming State of the City Address of Mayor Michael Rama on July 1, 2015” to city residents attending the event.
Councilor Andales said the letter was a clear violation of section 7, paragraph D of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees which prohibits soliciting any gift or favor directly or indirectly.
“Are we so bankrupt that we can’t buy water? That we have to make a request for it? It’s clearly soliciting gifts.” Andales said
Councilor Margot Osmeña said she learned of the letter from a friend.
“A friend of mine, who is an owner (of an establishment) showed me the letter. She asked me what’s thisis about,” Osmeña said
Mayor Rama said he didn’t know about the letter.
“I didn’t give them that authority. I have to call the attention of Belinda (about this)” he told reporters.
Andales said it’s impossible for the mayor not to have known about the solicitation.
The letter head of the Cebu City government was used.
Maria Corazon Naraja, spokesperson of the Ombudsman Visayas, said two laws prohibit solicitations: RA 6713 and Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“We don’t want to prejudge matters. This (matter) must be examined vis-a-vis appropriate laws and rules. We could not just give conclusions without taking into consideration all the evidence,” Naraja said.
But she urged government officials and employees to revisit provisions of the law to avoid any violations.
Section 3, paragraph b of RA 3019 prohibits direct or indirect solicitation of any gift or favor between the government and any person or group.
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