Ombudsman dismisses 2 complaints filed by Ramil Ayuman against Tomas Osmeña

·3 min read

(UPDATED) THE Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the two graft and corruption complaints against former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña over his alleged hampering of the development and refusal to accept payments from the sales of portions of the South Road Properties (SRP) during his term as mayor in 2016.

The first case was filed by then Apas barangay captain Ramil Ayuman last 2017. It accuses Osmeña of violating section three of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service, conduct unbecoming of a public official, and grave misconduct.

When Osmeña won as mayor in 2016, he made pronouncements that the sale of the SRP lots will be revoked for being “dubious if not outright corrupt.”

Ayuman claimed that Osmeña’s constant and public threats to rescind the sale have “purportedly engendered undue alarm and concern in the business sector and potential investors, consequently hampering the economic growth and development of Cebu City.”

According to the complaint, Osmeña directed then-City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo not to receive installment payments from the buyers of the 2015 SRP lot sales amounting to at least P1.668 billion, including interest.

The complainant argued that Osmeña and Camarillo’s actions “deprived the city of much-needed funds for the implementation of projects and programs.”

In the second complaint filed in 2019, Ayuman accused Osmeña of violating again section three of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act when Osmeña allegedly caused “undue delay of the development of the SRP lots by not implementing the contracts entered by his predecessor Mayor (Michael) Rama and the developers.”

The first complaint was dismissed last Aug. 14, 2019, and was approved by Ombudsman Samuel Martires on March 19, 2021; the second complaint was dismissed on Feb. 4, 2021, and approved by Martires on Feb. 11, 2022.

On the first complaint, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Cynthia Maturan-Sibi dismissed the case and said that “on the dates when possession should have been delivered, respondent Osmeña was obviously not yet the mayor.”

“The alleged ‘noncompliance’ with the terms and conditions of the contracts by failure to deliver possession of the lots to the buyers was already a condition that already existed even before respondent Osmeña became the mayor, and as such, could not be attributed to him,” read a portion of Sibi’s decision.

In relation to respondents’ act of refraining from receiving the payments, Sibi penned that there were no irregularities in the directive to Camarillo.

The decision further states that the Sangguniang Panglungsod had already deferred acceptance of the proceeds of the sales long before Osmeña became the mayor.

“Furthermore, merely refraining from accepting the installment payments of the purported buyers does not in any way constitute neglect or refusal to act on a demand or request more so when there was legal basis or justification for such action,” read a portion of the decision.

In the second complaint filed by Ayuman, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Michael Mernando Jr. dismissed the charges for failure of the complainants to substantiate their claim against the respondents.

According to the decision, the complainant also failed to provide evidence that would support his claim that the constituents were deprived of the delivery of basic services or that the City suffered a loss of income.

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