THE DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it will file charges against former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña following his order to remove all facilities and furniture from his office shortly before stepping down.
DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Secretary Eduardo M. Año has ordered the filing of charges against the former mayor.
“The decision to file cases has been made already. We are still studying the specific cases because we have yet to receive a report from our regional director from Region 6. The Secretary said we will definitely file cases but let’s just find out the facts first to determine what cases are to be filed,” Malaya said.
Malaya said he was disappointed over Osmeña’s order to strip his office of fixtures. “This is just so unfortunate. I cannot even determine the intention of Mayor Osmeña. This does not set a good example because there are other options,” he said.
Citing the former mayor’s claim that he spent around P2 million which came from his friends, Malaya said he can just have the amount reimbursed. “He doesn’t have to strip the office of the mayor bare and again it disrupts the delivery of public service. It’s because the mayor is currently holding business in another office,” Malaya said.
He said as a general rule, an official may only remove movable furniture and fixtures such as chairs, tables, and computers that are personal property when he ends his term.
“But the act of even removing what is considered immovable objects like ceiling, walls, and the tiles are already bad faith because it renders the office, which is government property, as unusable by his successor and therefore affects the delivery of public service to the people of Cebu City. Under the Civil Code, immovable improvements may only be removed by the owner if it does not cause damage or injury to the work constructed,” Malaya said.
He also suggested that Osmeña should have filed a claim for indemnification for all the immovable improvements that he introduced to the office so that reimbursements should have been made.
The former mayor said that he paid for the repair of the office in 2010 with his friends amounting to P2 million since the budget had been rejected by Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who defeated Osmeña in the May 13 mid-term elections.
Labella said he was also surprised when he found the mayor’s office “vandalized”, disconnected from the plumbing system and electrical connection, the ceiling and tiles stripped off, and no furniture was left aside from the two industrial air-conditioners and some chairs. (Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)