Chiong airs side on graft case
Former Naga City mayor Valdemor Chiong presented a 17-slide PowerPoint to an audience of around 100 to air his side on the decision of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to indict him for unlawful issuance of a business permit to a petroleum company.
Last August 3, the Ombudsman found probable cause to indict the former mayor for violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices to the Sandiganbayan, for issuing a business permit to Petronas Gas, even in the absence of a Fire Safety Inspection Certificate (FSIC).
In a press conference held at the Naga City Mutli-Purpose Hall yesterday morning, Chiong reiterated his claims that he issued a conditional business permit to Petronas in 2014 based on his discretion as mayor of Naga City.
In his PowerPoint presentation, Chiong revealed that the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Naga City has issued an FSIC to Petronas for the installation of their LPG Terminal/Plant in Barangay Langtad last July 2012.
In September 2013, however, Pryce Gas wrote a complaint letter to BFP-7, alleging that Petronas Gas failed to meet the 122-m minimum distance requirement from its two spherical LPG tanks to its perimeter wall.
Pryce Gas, an older petrochemical firm operating in Naga City since 1997, is a competitor of Petronas Gas.
After the BFP-7’s inspection in November 2013 headed by then regional director Senior Supt. Ma. Luisa Hadjula, it was ruled that Petronas has complied with the requirements.
Pryce appealed and had the case elevated to the national headquarters of the BFP in 2014. But the latter deemed the complaint moot, citing that the LPG plant was already constructed. The series of complaints in 2014 led the BFP in Naga City to withhold the FSIC for Petronas Gas.
“Nanghunaw sa ilang kamot ang BFP. Kami sa local government maoy nasad-an (BFP dodged accountability. We from the local government were the ones blamed),” he claimed.
“Mag-agad mi sa instruction sa BFP, pati ang construction sa Petronas moagad sa BFP (We rely on the instruction from BFP, even the construction of Petronas will depend on BFP). But the case is still pending in 2014, that’s why I issued a conditional mayor’s permit,” Chiong explained.
Chiong, however, said he has no plans to file a complaint against the BFP.
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