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Suspended Mayor Chiong: ‘I was only fair’

By: Rosalie Abatayo September 05,2019 - 10:31 AM

Suspended Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong says he did not step on anyone’s rights when he issued a business permit to a petroleum company in 2014. | CDN FILE PHOTO 

NAGA CITY, CEBU — “I did not step on anyone’s rights.”

This was the firm stand of suspended Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong as he took the city’s 12th Charter Day celebration as an avenue to explain to his constituents the 90-day preventive suspension imposed by the anti-graft court.

Chiong addressed the officials and employees of the city and its 28 barangays before the start of the Charter Day program at the Enan Chiong Activity Center on Thursday morning, September 5.

Chiong was ordered suspended by Sandiganbayan last July 30 as part of the procedures in the graft charge that he is facing for allegedly favoring and issuing a business permit to a petroleum company in 2014 despite the absence of a fire safety inspection certificate.

READ: Mayor of Naga, Cebu suspended by Sandiganbayan for 90 days

Although his suspension order was only served last Monday September 2, Chiong filed a leave of absence since August 15 after the news on his suspension broke in the media last August 14.

“I took a leave of absence because I do not want to lead the city of Naga with a question mark hanging over my head. I will not have the moral ascendancy to lead you,” Chiong said.

READ: Naga City Mayor Val Chiong: ‘I will heed the Sandiganbayan’s suspension order

Chiong’s daughter, Vice Mayor and former city mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong, now sits as the acting mayor.

But Chiong maintained that his issuance of a conditional business permit for the petroleum company was only fair.

“Ako malig-onon nga mobarog sa inyong atubangan. What I have committed is fair. Dili ni tungod sa kwarta [but because of an] issuance of a business permit but duna may niingon nila nga wa kunoy basis but still ako nagtuo nga I was only fair not only to a particular person but to all Nagahanon,” Chiong said

(Although there are some who claimed that I had no basis in issuing the permit, I believe that what I did was fair, not only for a single person but for the entire people of Naga.)

“I can stand right in front of you and I can say nga wala koy giyatakan nga katungod sa isig ka tawo (I did not step on anyone’s right with that action),” the suspended mayor added.

In a July 6 decision, the Court of Appeals (CA) has earlier cleared Chiong of administraticlve raps in relation to the alleged irregular issuance of the business permit.

The CA ruled that Chiong did not have reason to withhold issuance of the business permit since the concerned petroleum company was previously issued with a fire safety inspection certificate by the Bureau of Fire and Protection( BFP).

The ruling also said that the petroleum company was not blacklisted by the agency over the period that the previous fire safety inspection certificate expired. / celr

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TAGS: Bureau of Fire Protection, Cebu politics, Valdemar Chiong

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