Office of the Ombudsman

Ombudsman suspends Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, 7 officials for non-payment of salaries

John Sitchon

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Ombudsman suspends Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, 7 officials for non-payment of salaries

WAITING. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama told Rappler in a chat message on Wednesday evening, May 8, that he has yet to receive a copy of the complaints nor a copy of the Ombudsman’s resolution.

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama Official Facebook Page

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama says he has yet to receive a copy of the Ombudsman's resolution

CEBU, Philippines – The Ombudsman placed Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and seven city officials under preventive suspension for six months over unpaid salaries and discrimination faced by four employees.

In a resolution on Wednesday, May 8, Ombudsman Samuel Martires suspended Rama and Cebu City officials Collin Rosell, Maria Theresa Rosell, Francis May Jacaban, Angelique Cabugao, Jay-Ar Pescante, Lester Joey Beniga, and Nelyn Sanrojo.

“The evidence on record shows the respective participations of respondents… relative to the unpaid salaries of complainants since July 2023 and the discrimination/oppression complainants have suffered,” the document read.

A preventive suspension is part of the proceedings of an administrative investigation. The Cebu City officials will remain suspended until the adjudication on their case is terminated. This, however, will not exceed six months without pay, except when the delay in the disposition of the case is due to their fault or negligence or petition.

The case stems from the complaints filed by Filomena Atuel, Maria Almicar Diongzon, Sybil Ann Ybañez and Chito Dela Cerna before the Office of the Ombudsman – Visayas Area Office in Cebu City on February 23.

In their joint complaint-affidavit, they accused Rama and the officials for graft, corruption, and grave abuse of authority, among other violations.

In June 2023, each of the complainants received memorandums indicating their reappointments from their previous posts to new offices where they were given menial tasks, far from their prior supervisory roles.

“We vehemently disagreed with the said memoranda and deemed them illegal and invalid for being contrary to law and tantamount to constructive dismissal,” their affidavit read.

On June 2023, the employees filed an appeal to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Central Visayas Office against Rama. Despite this, the mayor had the reassignments immediately executed.

On October 12, 2023, decisions from the CSC Central Visayas Director Carlos Evangelista declared that the employees’ reassignments were invalid.

“Despite the decisions rendered in our favor and the directive of CSC Director Evangelista, Respondent Rama still did not and have not restored us to our original appointments, duties and functions. More importantly, Respondent Rama did not release in our favor the unpaid salaries and other benefits reckoned from July 2023,” the affidavit read.

Mayor’s response

Rama told Rappler on Wednesday evening that he has yet to receive a copy of the complaints nor a copy of the Ombudsman’s resolution. 

“I cannot comment on this because I have no idea,” the mayor said in a statement posted on the Cebu City Public Information Office’s social media page on Wednesday afternoon.


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