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Richard Gomez meets Tacloban media, debunks allegations Mayor Codilla hurled against them

TACLOBAN CITY – “Kasalanan ko ba kung ginawa ako ng Diyos na magandang lalaki at ang asawa ko, magandang babae?”, Richard Gomez joked to media practitioners in Tacloban City during a recent press conference. 

The entries for “debt servicing” from the 2011 and 2012 annual budgets of the Ormoc City government shows the total of P 100-million loan that Mayor Eric Codilla took out. P 50-million was intended for the construction of the City Hall and the first P 50-million for the waterworks project, not to include the P 50-million that the mayor allotted from the electric subsidy which should have gone into direct or indirect schemes to bring down power rates which he used for the waterworks program.

This was after a media man asked for his reaction to a comment reportedly made by Mayor Eric Codilla that all Richard and Lucy had to show for were tarpaulins showing their beautiful faces. “Ano ang masasabi mo sa komentaryo ni Mayor Codilla na puro lang kayo pagwapo at pagwapa at sila naman puro trabaho dahil sila ay ummm …. ummm …. ummm?”

Gomez held the press conference to inform Tacloban media of what Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez has done during the two years and a half she was congresswoman, as well as answer questions about his bid for mayor.

Weeks earlier, Mayor Eric Codilla hauled around 60 media men from Tacloban to Ormoc City and toured them around the City Hall and explained to them how he implemented the P 500-million Codilla-version of the comprehensive waterworks project, emphasizing all were implemented “without a loan”.

This impressed Tacloban media who’ve openly criticized why Tacloban’s City Hall remains the old edifice it is, and complaining that they are suffering from a water shortage right now.

Other projects that the Mayor told Tacloban media about was about the Ormoc City Hospital, farm to market roads, school buildings funded from the city’s multi-million Special Education Fund among others.

He also impressed to media present that in contrast, all that Lucy and Richard have to show were tarps announcing projects which he said were not even theirs as these are nationally funded.

Richard Gomez, for his part, answered the criticisms hurled against them, adding that he wonders why Mayor Eric Codilla would not even tell his constituents the truth. He pointed out that if the mayor does not tell Ormocanons the truth, how much more for the media in Tacloban who is not aware of what is happening in Ormoc and the 4th district.

He took up the mayor’s boast that the waterworks project and the city hall were constructed without a loan. Richard Gomez distributed to the media present pages photocopied from Ormoc’s Annual Budget for 2010 and 2011 that the city took out a loan of P 50-million for each project, putting up the Internal Revenue Allotment as collateral.

Atty. Adelito Solibaga Jr., Gomez’s counsel, further explained to media that while the mayor claims the loans were not loans but a “rediscounting” on future IRA releases, it was still a loan by any other name. The record shows that for the P 50-million “rediscounting” or loan, the city was only released more than P 30-million each, because of the advance interest taken from it.

Gomez also explained the P 100-million loan does not include the P 50-million that the city used from the royalties that are supposed to be released to electric consumers of Ormoc City in the form of direct or indirect subsidies.

As for the Ormoc City Hospital, he said that the mayor has been projecting it as a hospital when what is actually being built is a CEMONC or ‘Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care’ Center. No less than Dr. Jaime Bernadas, Department of Health regional director, has told the press about it and that from the very start, the city’s application was already for a CEMONC.

Gomez also answered criticisms of “E-Pal” against them, saying that they would prefer to be criticized as such rather than the people not knowing what they have been doing for Ormoc and the district, aside from the fact that it made their projects “transparent”. In comparison, he pointed out, the city’s signages for their public works often lacked important details like the actual project cost.

As for his bid for mayor, he said that he would not have run for the position had it been that the present leadership did not give Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez a hard time implementing her projects in the city. “We were willing to work with them”, he said “but dili sila”.  By Lalaine M. Jimenea

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