Council, Rama, Tomas okay with bank waiverBy Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
Both Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district said they have no problem signing a waiver on their bank accounts.
Still, the two officials couldn’t resist taking potshots at each other after the Cebu City Council yesterday agreed to sign a waiver with their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
The waiver would allow the Ombudsman-Visayas to open their bank deposits in case they were placed under investigation on suspicion of corruption.
While Mayor Rama said he has no problem signing a waiver to open his bank accounts, he questioned Osmeña’s claim of being the “poorest” Cebuano legislator with a declared net worth of P5.1 million.
The mayor pointed out that Osmeña often travels abroad for his medical checkups. Osmeña waved off the mayor’s reaction.
“So what? He (Rama) does not believe (that I am the poorest Cebu congressman) anyway. This is a free country. You can believe what you want,” said Osmena.
Osmeña said family members and friends pay for his travels because they were happy that he has been helping the Cebuanos.
He said his sister, Ma. Victoria Osmeña Stuart, normally pays for his medical check up in Houston where he was treated for cancer of the bladder.
Osmeña with wife Councilor Margot Osmeña and son Miguel are leaving on Friday for the US for the congressman’s annual medical check up scheduled on June 10.
Before that, they will watch Manny Pacquiao’s June 9 championship bout in Las Vegas.
The congressman said it is a known fact that he does not own a house.
Osmeña said he leases a house owned by the Gaisanos in barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City for P40,000 a month.
Osmeña said a businessman friend allowed him use of his yacht where Osmena invited barangay captains on board. He was referring to Bigfoot International owner Michael Gleisner.
Osmena recalled that in 2001, the same friend let him use two vehicles which he was supposed to donate to the city for use as police vehicles.
“But when he found out that I am no longer mayor, he said you just use it (the two cars) na lang,” said Osmeña.
He said family members and friends who help him don’t ask for anything in return.
In yesterday’s City Council session, Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. said it would be ironic for the council to pass a resolution urging the Senate and the Congress to attach a waiver in next year’s SALN form.
“As a gesture of good faith, and before we urge Congress and Senate, why don’t we sign the waiver first?” Pe told the council.
His motion was approved by 17 councilors.
Before that, Councilor Edgar Labella presented a resolution urging Senate and Congress to amend Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees in order to incorporate the waiver in the SALN form.
It was approved by the entire council.
city Former Chief Justice Renato Corona invoked as his defense in the impeachment trial RA 6426 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act.
To do away with the conflict between the confidentiality in the Foreign Currency Deposits Act and the mandate for transparency in RA 6713, Labella said a waiver should be added in the SALN forms which are filed every year under oath by all public officials and employees.
Councilor Alvin Dizon said Mayor Rama, department heads and even City Hall employees should be required to do the same.
But Councilor Jose Daluz said the signing of the waiver should be made an “individual decision” of city officials.