Unfinished businessCebu Daily News
It’s puzzling why the Cebu City Council would hesitate to support a committee report detailing irregularities in the allocation of aid to barangay captains discovered before 2010.
On one hand, the council is zealously asserting its authority by having Cebu City Rep. Tomas Osmeña file a complaint against Mayor Michael Rama for failing to secure prior permission from the council before taking court action to retain City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva.
On the other hand, it hasn’t lifted a finger in dealing with a report about well-publicized problems over how City Hall aid to barangay captains resulted in substandard projects awarded to a favored contractor.
Mayor Rama questioned the council’s pussy-footing on the committee report during a meeting with the city’s barangay captains, some of whom complained about poor quality materials used for their projects like the rip-rap wall in barangay Kalunasan.
Aside from former barangay captain of Guadalupe Eugenio Faelnar, there were other officials linked to the work of contractor Arante Construction.
Osmeña, who blew the whistle on the alleged abuse, himself vowed to get to the bottom of the case in 2010 and distanced himself from Faelnar.
But if you ask for action on this now, you just get a shrug.
When asked why there was a delay in endorsing the committee report to the Ombudsman-Visayas, Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young nonchalantly remarked that Mayor Rama himself can endorse it to the anti-graft agency.
“He’s just playing cute. Only when he actually files charges against the accused will Rama need council authority to do so,” the vice mayor said.
True, but since this case has been in the council’s backburner for more than a year, back when the council and Rama were still allies, you wonder why it’s taking so long to see this through.
Perhaps they’re too caught up in their own political intramurals with the mayor.
Will the City Council ever review, let alone act on the committee report that details its findings on the irregularities?
Have new alliances been struck? Have differences been patched up with the parties involved?
Does the BO-PK prefer not to disturb the waters of barangay support with an election nearing?
This unfinished business about substandard barangay projects is by no means minor.
It involved block funded amounts from City Hall entrusted to barangay captains to directly execute community projects as a test of their skills in governance.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or energy to say “yes” to endorsing the committee’s findings to the Ombudsman for review.
Sitting on the report is far from “acting cute” when the matter involved is one of valid public interest.
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