‘Patrol cars’ not City Hall property, says TomCebu Daily News
ONE still looks like a black-and-white patrol car, and carries the seal of the Cebu city government.
But Cebu City Rep. Tomas Osmeña yesterday said the two US-made Dodge Charge sedans parked in his home were not property of the city government.
He said there was a misconception that these were donated to the city government by Bigfoot Entertainment, whose owner Paul Gleissner, is a friend and close supporter.
Osmeña said the heavy duty vehicles which Bigfoot used as police cars in movies earlier shot in their Cebu studios were offered to him but were later purchased by his sister Minnie and her son Paulo.
“I could have asked for it, but I don’t want it,” said Osmeña in a press conference at his residence in Guadalupe.
During his term as mayor, Osmeña would occasionally be seen riding the American-made car which he explained at the time was owned by Gleissner’s company and given to him to use.
Yesterday, he challenged Mayor Michael Rama to produce documents to prove the vehicles were donated to Cebu City.
Mayor Rama said ownership of these cars will be eventually checked by the anti-graft office.
“The Ombudsman will be there,” he said because the issue needs to be checked “to clear the air about who’s being honest or in good faith.”
A photo of one of the two Dodge Chargers was circulated in the Internet, raising questions about its origin and current status.
Osmeña said he saw nothing wrong with keeping the car’s government markings
Bigfoot Entertainment was one of the first investors in the South Road Properties (SRP), leasing three hectares in 2008 to build sound stage and studios.
Osmeña said Bigfoot owner Gleissner visited him in Houston while he was recovering from gallblader surgery in 2009 and asked the mayor if he wanted to have the two police cars which the company used in their shoots.
“He was thinking to donate them to the City but when he found out my term was ending, he didn’t pursue the idea of donating it to City Hall,” Osmeña said.
Osmeña said that Gleissner even sent the two vehicles to meet him at the Mactan Cebu International Airport when he returned to Cebu in 2010 after his surgery.
Since he refused the donation, he said sister Minnie and nephew Paulo, acquired the vehicles. They have documents to prove the purchase, said Osmeña.
“But the cars are under my possession and control. It is not being used without a policeman inside,” Osmeña said.
When he was still mayor, he said he allowed use of the two vehicles for security duties in the South Road Properties (SRP).
One vehicle is now being used to transport guests, following his exit from City Hall when his term ended in 2010.
The other still has a siren, city government seal and the marking “for official use” on its body .
Osmeña said it retained its appearance as a police car for “bragging rights”and was even sent to Naga City as an escort vehicle during the burial of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo last month.
Two uniformed policemen drove the car to Naga City and carried a mission order for the purpose, with the authority of Police Regiona Director Marcelo Garbo, he said.
“That was our contribution to the funeral (march) and no city funds were spent for it,” said Osmeña.
He said the cars were used by VIPs like congressmen, some cabinet members, investors, and even Rep. Manny Paquiao when he is in Cebu.
Osmena said the car is not used privately without a policeman inside./With reports from Tweeny M. Malinao