Osmeña asks for time to debunk allegations
CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has asked the anti-graft office for an extension to file his counter-affidavit on the criminal and administrative complaints filed against him on the implementation of the Long Life Medical Assistance Program (LLMAP).
In his motion dated April 8, Osmeña received a copy of the order from the Office of the Ombudsman last March, 27 but City Attorney Joseph Bernaldez, counsel of the mayor, said his office received the order on April 4, 2019.
“Due to the pressures of equally urgent professional work and prior commitments, the undersigned counsel needs more time to prepare the counter-affidavit,” read a portion of the motion.
Bernaldez said the filing of the motion is devoid of any intent to delay the disposition of the case.
To recall, Barangay Apas Councilman Ramil Ayuman sued Osmeña for employing out-of-school youths to dispense prescription medicines to the beneficiaries of LLMAP.
Ayuman said the mayor could have used the existing barangay health workers who have undergone training program before rendering primary health care services.
He has accused the mayor of committing graft, gross neglect of duty, and conduct unbecoming of a public official.
Ayuman also accused Osmeña of undermining the city’s Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) which is the primary agency tasked to implement social services of the city.
In a March-13 order, Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente had directed Osmeña to submit his counter-affidavit and other controverting evidence on Ayuman’s allegations.
“Failure to comply as herein directed within the period prescribed by the rules shall be deemed a waiver of the right to present the party’s counter-affidavit or reply-affidavit and the investigation shall proceed according to existing rules,” read the anti-graft office’s order.
LLMAP is the mayor’s first program when he assumed office in June 2016. The program gives out free medicines to the city’s residents who are suffering from hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis.
Based on the city’s records, about 50,000 beneficiaries receive medicines every day.
Osmeña claimed that the City of Cebu is the only local government unit that is doing the project.
Medicines that are distributed include B. Complex, 50mg Losartan, 100mg Losartan, Losartan HCTZ 50mg, Metorpolol 50 mg, Amlodipine 5mg, and Amlodipine 50mg, among others. — GAN (FREEMAN)