Ex-Cebu City Mayor Osmena: I just wanted to restore mayor’s office to 2016 state
CEBU CITY –– It was a restoration and not demolition.
This was how former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña explained why he stripped his office bare before his term ended on June 30.
In his July 18 letter addressed to City Mayor Edgar Labella, Osmeña said his order was “to remove whatever belonged to me personally and to restore the office to its 2016 state.”
Osmeña said the “work” was supposed to continue the following days but City Attorney Rey Gealon and City Administrator Floro Casas Jr. interfered on June 28.
They also brought in policemen to the office, he added.
“This caused unfinished work to stop. Also, the unfinished work was brought to the attention of the media, and the media frenzy immediately followed,” said Osmeña, who recently arrived from a trip abroad.
Osmeña said he wrote the letter to ask that the contractor be allowed to continue with their work because the restoration process was incomplete.
Gealon and Casas denied the request to continue the “restoration” work.
“Since there is already a complaint against you in the Office of the Ombudsman, let the wheels of justice run its course. To allow your request would be a mockery to one of the prosecutorial arms of the justice system,” they said in a July 22 letter.
Gealon and Casas cited the media interview with Osmeña when he never mentioned any intention to restore the office.
Even the former mayor’s staff members didn’t say anything about restoring the office to its 2016 state, they added.
Gealon and Casas described Osmeña’s explanation as an afterthought “to evade criminal and administrative responsibility.”
They added that allowing Osmeña to restore the office would be tantamount to obstruction of justice.
On June 30, Labella was surprised to find the mayor’s office stripped to its raw concrete floor.
The glass dividers were gone along with the ceiling and some ceramic tiles. The kitchen tiles were also gone.
All tiles in the washroom had also been removed.
Bimbo Fernandez, then Osmeña’s executive assistant, said the former mayor owned the fixtures and furniture after he spent for office renovation as the council denied his budget request of P2 million. /lzb
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.