Diamante denies new smuggling accusations, ready to face probe
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Incoming Tuburan Mayor Democrito ‘Aljun’ Diamante is ready to face the latest round of smuggling allegations levied at him.
Diamante’s name appeared on the list of officials and businessmen who were allegedly involved in smuggling agri-fishery products into the country.
In a Senate hearing last April on the rampant smuggling of agricultural products, senators disclosed the names of four alleged big-time smugglers, but failed in pressuring agriculture officials to disclose the names of their supposed protectors responsible for emboldening the “brazen” display of their illegal activities.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he had obtained a dossier from the intelligence units of the agriculture department and the Department of Trade and Industry, naming Manuel Tan, Andrew Chang and Luz Cruz as alleged vegetable smugglers.
Also on Sotto’s list was the handwritten name ‘Jun Diamante’, described as the mayor of Tuburan town in Cebu province and an alleged smuggler of agri-fishery products.
During an interview with Cebu-based radio station dyHP on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, Diamante denied, once again, his engagement in smuggling activities.
Although he admitted owning a logistics company, the newly elected mayor said he no longer manages their family business since he went into public office in 2003.
“Dili ko molimod ana nga naa koy logistics company nga nag handle og mga dagkong kompaniya nga nag handle sa shipping, sa trucking apan gi manage na sa akong anak,” Diamante said.
This is not the first time Diamante was accused of smuggling.
In 2017, his name was also included on a similar list of officials and businessmen allegedly engaged in these illegal activities. Diamante also denied these allegations.
According to Diamante, he has not received any official invitation or order, summoning him to cooperate in an investigation.
As a result, he expressed disappointment over government officials and agencies’ tendency to publicly accuse several individuals without presenting substantial proof.
“Binuang kaayo pero sama sa akong giingon, ipakita nila ilang ebidensya nga kanang sigurado gyud sila sa ilang gisulti nga involved gyud ta anang ilang gipasangil sa atoa,” said Diamante.
“Daghan kaayong mga inquiries sa Senado nga nagpakita lang nagpakaulaw sa mga pangalan sa mga tawo pagkahuman wa may nahitabo,” he added.
In the meantime, the mayor said ‘his conscience is clear’, and that he is willing to submit and disclose his business’ records to debunk the latest smuggling accusations.
“Makita na nila sa atong libro, pwede na nato paablihan ang libro sa akong mga kompaniya kay wala naman gyud ta nag focus diha,” Diamante said.
Diamante is currently the vice mayor of Tuburan town in northwestern Cebu. During the May 9 elections, he won another bid to be the municipality’s local chief executive. With reports from the Philippine Daily Inquirer
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