Ombudsman suspends Cebu City mayor, 7 others

Ombudsman suspends Cebu City mayor, 7 others

Mayor Michael Rama

Cebu Mayor Michael Rama NESTLE SEMILLA

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday suspended Mayor Michael Rama and seven other city government officials for six months to make way for its investigation into allegations that the mayor’s office was remiss in its duty to remit workers’ pay.

The suspension order came after the Ombudsman acted on a complaint filed by former city tax mappers, accusing Rama and others of multiple administrative charges, including grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, grave abuse of authority and violations to ethical standards of public officials and employees.


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Ombudsman Samuel Martires has ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to immediately implement the suspension order against Rama and the other respondents.

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‘Discrimination, oppression’

State prosecutors cited evidence that showed the “participation” of Rama and the other city hall officials in the failure to release the salaries, since July 2023, of former tax mappers Filomena Atuel, Maria Almicar Diongzon, Sybil Ybañez and Chito dela Cerna.

It also noted the “discrimination [and] oppression [that the] complainants have suffered,” despite a Civil Service Commission order that declared “invalid” their delayed wages and reassignments to different city government offices last year.

Aside from Rama, also suspended were city administrator Collin Rosell, his wife and acting city assessor Maria Theresa Rosell, assistant department head of administration and legal officer Francis May Jacaban, assistant department head of operation Angelique Cabugao, administration division head Jay-Ar Pescante, assessment records management division head Lester Joey Beniga and computer division head Nelyn Sanrojo.

“Their continued stay in office may prejudice the investigation of the case filed against them,” read the order.


The Ombudsman said the respondents should be preventively suspended “in order to preserve documents and evidence pertaining to this case, which they have control and custody, and to prevent the commission … of further malfeasance and misfeasance in office.”


Rama, in a media interview on Wednesday, said he was unaware of the complaint and had not received a copy of the suspension order.

He said he was clueless about the complaint and lamented his inability to defend himself.

“What salary? I don’t even know [about it]. How can I be [suspended]? I have not received a copy of any complaint. How can I be knowledgeable about the issue when I didn’t even have a chance to be heard?” said Rama.

Rama said he could not pursue any legal action without any official documentation from the Ombudsman or the DILG.

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“How can I have a legal remedy when I don’t have a copy of the complaint? I am not aware of the complaint. [But if I receive the copy], we will take care of it. I’m very busy working for the City of Cebu. [In fact], I’m here in Manila [for an official business],” he said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

TAGS: DILG, Michael Rama, Ombudsman

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