The secretary of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has asked for a copy of the controversial ordinance where he mistakenly signed the last page of a draft law he vehemently oppposes.
Belinda Navasquez’s formal request to the City Council secretariat said the signature will be submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for verification.
Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young, however, said the request was “moot and academic” since the mayor’s veto of the ordinance was already defeated last week when the council voted 15 to 3 against it.
“It’s not a legitimate request because he (Rama) signed the ordinance. Is he accusing us of forging his signature? If that’s the case, is he also accusing the SP secretariat of forging his signature? That’s a waste of time,” Young said.
Mayor Rama in prior interviews said he couldn’t recall signing the document even as his staff said the oversight could have taken place due to the large volume of documents the chief executive often signs.
Instead of asking the NBI to verify the signature, Vice Mayor Young said Rama should “investigate his own people” to track the flow of papers in his office.
Mayor Rama sent his veto message last Aug. 7 or six days after a signed copy of the ordinance was sent from the mayor’s office to the council secretariat.
City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete said they don’t discount the possibility that “golden hands” were behind the signature on the ordinance, which restricts the mayor from selling any lots of the South Road Properties without council approval.
In the Aug. 15 session, the council voted 15 to 3 to override the mayor’s veto.
The 15-member Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) bloc in the council supported a resolution by Councilor Noel Wenceslao for the override.
It said the mayor’s signature on city ordinance no.
2332 “signifies his approval ” of the legislative measure and that the mayor failed to submit his veto letter within the 10-day period prescribed by law.
Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district said the SRP ordinance won’t prohibit Rama from talking to interested buyers of SRP lots nor prevent him from accepting unsolicited proposals.
What’s prohibited is the bidding of SRP lots and signing a sales contract without prior council approval, he said.
“The ordinance will allow screening of what the interested buyer wanted to do with the property before we say yes. But Rama wants to just give it to the highest bidder regardless of what they intend to do with the property,” Osmeña said.
“I prepared the ordinance to protect the interest of the city,” said the former mayor . Osmeña said unsolicited proposals will always be welcomed.
He cited the case of SM Prime Holdings which acquired a 30-hectare lot at the SRP.
SM submitted an unsolicited proposal that was later challenged by the Cebu provincial government. The SM bid was eventually approved by City Hall. /Doris C. Bongcac and Edison delos Angeles