Mayor Duterte of Tabogon accused of ’abuse of authority’
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The mayor of Tabogon town in northern Cebu is now facing a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Mayor Zigfred Duterte was accused of ‘gravely abusing his authority’ when one of the drivers hired by the municipality also allegedly worked for the mayor’s family in ‘private and personal capacity’.
The driver, identified as Regie Ornopia, lodged a nine-page complaint before the state’s anti-graft investigating body on July 14, a copy of which was furnished to local members of the media.
Duterte, a third-degree nephew of President Rodrigo Duterte, said on Wednesday, July 21, that he will respond to the allegations ‘in the proper forum’ as he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint.
Ornopia, in his affidavit, said he began working for the municipal government of Tabogon as Duterte’s personal driver in 2013.
But in 2014, he claimed that the mayor assigned him to drive a dump truck to haul limestones being quarried from sites owned by the latter.
“Sa sugod, usa ko ka personal driver ni Mayor Duterte pero atong tuig 2014, ge assign nako ug pag drive ug dump truck nga personal nga panag-iya ni Mayor Duterte,” parts of Ornopia’s affidavit read.
(First, I was designated as personal driver of Mayor Duterte but last 2014, I was assigned to drive a dump truck personally owned by Mayor Duterte.)
Ornopia also said that the expenses for refueling these limestone-carrying dump trucks at a certain MHDA gasoline station in Brgy. Piyo, Tabogon, were sourced from funds of the municipal government.
“Kanang gasoline station ge-contrata na sa munisipyo on a credit term basis ug ang mga krudo nga ge-tubil sa dump trucks kay ge-charge na sa munisipyo ug ang gas voucher ana ge submitar naa ge butang ug ge gamit lang, ang plate number sa karaan nga dump trucks sa munisipyo nga wala na mag dagan. Sa ato pa, on record, ang krudo ge tubil sa dump truck nga personal ge panag-iya ni Mayor Duterte,” he said.
(In order that the diesel fuel loaded to my driven dump truck will be charged to the Municipality of Tabogon, Cebu, the gas voucher submitted to the gas station bears the plate number of the old dump truck of the Municipality of Tabogon, Cebu, that is not any more running . Thus, on record, it appears that the truck that is refueling in the gas station is a truck owned by the Municipality of Tabogon, Cebu but in truth and in fact, the truck being loaded with diesel fuel is a dump truck privately owned by the Mayor and is used for his own personal business.)
The complainant added that he was also directed to transport several members of Duterte’s immediate family members for their respective ‘personal transactions’ such as going to school.
This despite receiving his salary from Tabogon’s coffers.
“Pasabot nako ani nga bisan pa nga ang nag sweldo nako kay ang Munisipyo sa Tabogon, Cebu province, ako trabaho kay ang pad drive sa iyang mga anak gikan sa ilang balay sa Lamac, Consolacion, Cebu province padung sa eskwelahan sa mga bata nga Dominican School sa Bag-ong Dan, Consolacion, Cebu province ug pabalik gikan sa eskwelahan padung pauli sa balay ug ning drive ug serbisyo ko isip driver sa asawa ni Mayor Duterte sa iya mga personal nga transactions,” said Ornopia.
(When I say that I service him and his family, I am referring to the fact that despite being paid by the Municipality of Tabogon, Cebu, I am tasked to drive his children from their residence in Lamac, Consolacion, Cebu to the school particularly in Dominican School, Bag-ong Dan, Consolacion, Cebu and vice-versa and also to service his wife during her personal transactions.)
Ornopia said he resigned from being a driver for Tabogon’s local government after Duterte accused him of selling the quarried limestones to customers.
The affidavit, however, did not mention when he left his job.
Ornopia also alleged that the town mayor owned at least four quarrying sites, which he claimed to have been operating without the required permits.
Duterte, in a phone interview with CDN Digital, confirmed that the municipality hired Ornopia as one of his drivers ‘four or five years ago’.
But the mayor begged off to elucidate his comments further, saying that he is yet to receive a copy of the complaint and that he will respond to them ‘in the proper forum’.
“All I can say as of this time is that I suspected and believed this is politically motivated, considering the timing of the filing of the case. He (Ornopia) has resigned long ago. Why only bring it up now?” said Duterte in Cebuano.
Tabogon is a third-class municipality located approximately 36 kilometers northwest of Cebu City. /rcg
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