7 Lapu village chiefs file malversation, graft charges vs Mayor Chan, 12 others
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines – Seven Lapu-Lapu City village chiefs have filed charges against Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan and some city officials and private individuals for alleged malversation of public funds and anti-graft and corrupt practices act before the office of the Visayas Ombudsman.
The complaint was filed on February 9, 2022, in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related purchases in the city in 2020 and 2021 that amounted to P47,225,550.
Aside from Chan, other respondents in the complaint are Lawyer James Sayson, Ronald Malacora, Nagiel Bañacia, Romeo Berame, Nestor Tuñacao, Claire Cabalda, Annabeth Cuizon, and Sunshine Lim.
Also included are private respondents, Charles Lim, Emma Lim, Michael Lim, and Anna Marie Sing from the Heritage Muebles Mirabile Export, Inc., who got awarded with the COVID-19-related purchases by the city.
The purchases include food and non-food items.
Bankal Barangay Captain Eduardo Cuizon, Association of Barangay Council (ABC) president in the city, said that they questioned the transactions that the city has entered into since the winning bidder was engaged in exporting furniture and real estate business.
“Nahibulong lang mi nga ang nakadaog nga bidder, ug duna man gyuy tinood nga bidding, ang kadto man nuong kompaniya nga ang ilahang main nga product kining Heritage Muebles Mirabile Export, Inc, ang ilahang main business kay furniture man,” Cuizon said.
“Unya naka-supply naman hinoon ug foods. Unya ang ilahang seconday purpose sa ilang business is real estate,” he added.
Cuizon said that their complaint was based on the report from the Commission on Audit (COA) that was released in 2021.
The report said that in 2020, the city purchased non-food relief items worth P7 million and supplies for the COVID-19 facility worth P4.925 million from the said company.
In 2021, the city also procured food relief items worth P30 million and food packs for 210 people worth P5,975,550.
Cuizon said that the COA has already ordered the city to submit pertaining documents of the said transactions which they failed to comply with.
He also clarified that their actions were not politically motivated, for they only want to safeguard the city’s fund.
“Ang perception lang guro na sa mga tawo nga politiko. Pero kami bisan mga barangay officials, pero duna man gud mi katungod, hilabi na nga ex-officio member ko sa konseho. Niadtong miaging November, naa man gud tay COA report nga duna gyuy something wrong sa pamaagi diha sa city hall, hilabi na niining kaso nga among gi-file,” he said.
CDN Digital tried to reach out to Chan, however, he refused to issue a statement over the case.
Lapu-Lapu City Public Information Officer Mark Anthony Bautista also stated that the mayor is still waiting for a copy of the complaint before issuing a statement.
“As of the moment, unfortunately, we still don’t get a copy of the complaint yet. According to Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan, he will answer it orderly once he receives a copy of the complaint filed by the barangay captains,” Bautista said. /rcg
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