One more chief folds under pressure
AND then there were six.
Sambag 1 Barangay Captain Lemar Alcover decided to return his Cebu City government-issued service vehicle to the General Services Office (GSO) yesterday, despite the assurance of suspended Mayor Michael Rama that he would provide legal assistance to the seven village chiefs now facing criminal charges for not returning their assigned vehicles despite demand.
The move didn’t come much as a surprise to the other remaining barangay captains including Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) President, Tisay Barangay Captain Philip Zafra.
“At least one down. There’s only six of us waiting,” he told CDN in a phone interview yesterday.
Aside from Zafra, the other remaining barangay captains who haven’t returned their high-end pickup vehicles are Joel Garganera of Tinago, Ramil Ayuman of Apas, Yolandito Cagang of Basak Pardo, Rosalita Callino of Buot and Ana Tabal of Tagba-o.
For his part, Ayuman said he respects Alcover’s decision.
“Actually, even before Margot (Osmeña) became acting mayor, I was really planning to turn over my vehicles when the new administration comes,” Ayuman said.
CDN tried contacting Alcover yesterday through text messages and called his three cellphone numbers but all were out of coverage area.
Two telephone numbers registered under the Sambag 1 Barangay Hall, as listed in the city government’s website also couldn’t be reached.
The return of Alcover’s issued vehicle has brought the number of high-end pickups returned to the city by the different barangays to 74, said GSO Head Ronaldo Malacora. The other six pickups are still with the barangay captains who refused to return it.
Malacora said some of the pickups have been re-issued to some barangay captains already, among them, Kalubihan Barangay Captain Carmilo Millan who got back the same vehicle he returned earlier for inventory.
Four vehicles issued to barangay councilors were reissued to four barangay captains, who weren’t issued a vehicle during the administration of Michael Rama. These are Reynaldo Ompoc of Mabolo, Carlo Yap of Pahina Central, Gremar Barete of Buhisan and Omar Durano of Cogon Ramos.
These barangay captains are known supporters of the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).
“It will depend on the Mayor (Osmeña) as to whose request for re-issuance will be granted. So far, these were the ones okayed,” Malacora said.
Sought for comment on this, Zafra said he wasn’t surprised that BOPK allies were given priority in the re-issuance of the pickups.
“That’s their prerogative. It’s part of their direction and priorities. We can’t expect that it would be for us (Team Rama). Ang mga kaalayado, hatagan gyud ug higayon (The allies will always be given more chances). We don’t see any problem with that because they are all still from the barangays,” Zafra said.
But chances are, fewer barangays will get back the services vehicles previously assigned to them.
Malacora said Osmeña has approved a request from the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) to give them 15 of the Toyota Hilux pickups from the barangays to the Mobile Patrol Group (MPG).
He also said another seven units have been “approved in principle,” to be given to the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) although there is still no request, since their old Toyota Revo vehicles have been conking out.
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