For giving up P400 million, Mike calls Tom:Cebu Daily News
For not allocating the P400 million to Cebu City, Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district can be “guilty of treason”, Mayor Michael Rama said yesterday.
“Is he running for governor? He could have assigned it to another project for Cebu City, that is his obligation. Why should he give it to the province?,” Rama told Cebu Daily News.
Rama questioned Osmeña’s decision to realign the P400 million flyover budget in favor of the Naga-Carcar road expansion project, saying it was “expensive political gimmickry” on the congressman’s part.
“Ngano gipaabout sa laing lugar (Why give it to another place)?,” he said.
Osmeña said he was tired with having to deal with Rama’s opposition to the flyover project where the P400 million were supposed to go.
The flyover was supposed to be built across the Mormon temple in barangay Lahug, Cebu City but opposition in the community forced the Department of Public and Highways (DPWH) and Osmeña as sponsor to realign national funds.
Instead, Osmeña realigned the P400 million to fund the Naga-Carcar City road expansion being pursued by Rep. Eduardo Gullas of Cebu’s 1st district.
Gullas’s Alayon Party entered into an alliance with the Liberal Party (LP).
However, Alayon party members like Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong said the mayors in the first district will support Rep. Pablo Garcia of Cebu’s 3rd district in his run for governor of the province (see Page 2).
The mayor, who insisted that the funds be used instead for road widening and repair of Cebu City’s roads in the north district, said he may look into legal action against the congressman.
“It’s political gimmickry because he hasn’t been thinking that the money is intended for Cebu City,” Rama said.
The mayor and the congressman were earlier tangled in a legal dispute over the two US Dodge cars parked at Osmeña’s home.
The case was filed before the Ombudsman-Visayas.
In this latest run-in, Rama said Osmeña should find ways to appropriate the P400 million budget for Cebu City other than the flyovers.
Too much politics
Osmeña, who recently received Liberal Party (LP) support for his mayoralty bid against Rama next year, said he gave up the P400 million in appreciation for the first district voters who supported former Cebu City councilor Hilario Davide III’s gubernatorial run in 2010.
Still, Rama said Osmeña’s decision to allocate the PP400 million budget for the diversion of roads in the Naga-Carcar road stretch to prevent the cutting of century old trees wasn’t driven by altruistic motives.
When asked about his comment on Osmeña’s statement that he didn’t set any conditions for his funding assistance to Gullas, Rama said, “I will answer it with a big Hahahahaha.”
“He’s old enough and he’s supposed to be thinking much in the heart rather than to be thinking too much of politics,” the mayor insisted.
The P400 million allocation was funding secured from the national government on top of Osmeña’s P75 million pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
After Rama and anti-flyover groups opposed the construction of the proposed flyover projects near Modesta Gaisano road across the Mormon temple and near JY Square in Lahug, Osmeña sought to shift the funds to south district roads.
But the mayor opposed the fund transfer, questioning why the DPWH had to dismantle roads in good condition.
He said the funds could be better used to repair damaged north district roads like the Reclamation Area or for drainage improvement.
Osmeña then had the road projects canceled last month.
Osmeña said he called up Gullas after hearing that the congressman needed funds for the Naga-Carcar project three weeks ago during Congress’s hearings on next year’s budget.
Osmeña’s P400 million offer also came with a promise to find more funding for Cebu’s 1st district if Davide and Bando-Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) councilor Raul Alcoseba wins in next year’s elections.
Davide is running for Cebu’s gubernatorial post while Alcoseba, a three-term councilor in Cebu City, will run for the Provincial Board representing Cebu’s 1st district.
Osmeña was recently appointed Cebu City chairman of the Liberal Party (LP) after the administration party endorsed his mayoralty candidacy and his BO-PK party for next year’s elections. Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondent with stories from Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac and Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol