City attorney praised for refusing a bribe

By: Norman V. Mendoza December 11,2014 - 12:24 AM

The head of Lapu-Lapu city’s legal office was commended by Mayor Paz Radaza for his honesty in  rejecting a cash bribe from  a woman applying for a  building permit, then guiding the woman   in getting a permit  without having to pay anyone.

City Attorney Yuri Benluan received a plaque of merit  for his action.

“I haven’t done anything extraordinary,” he told reporters.

“I was just doing what is expected of me.”

Mayor Radaza presented the plaque to Benluan  yesterday in a press conference after learning of his action from the same woman who tried to give the lawyer a box of Polvoron with “a few thousand bucks” in it to  speed up paperwork.

“Atty. Benluan kindly returned the money the next time I visited his office to make a follow-up.  He said he does not accept bribes and he assured me that he would do everything to help me get the building permit without a single centavo coming from me to his pocket,” part of Suan’s Sept. 15 letter to the mayor read.

Mayor Radaza said actions like this by city government workers were part of the legacy of  “investors confidence” and honest dealings that she wanted to leave behind.

“Today, we witness  good governance and accountability through the noble act of Atty. Yuri Benluan,”  she said.

It was in May this year when Benluan found a box of sweets on his office table with cash underneath it. He didn’t bother to count the bills.

A few days later, when the giver, Suan,  visited to follow up her  application for a building permit for a structure in sitio Masulog, barangay Basak, the city attorney returned the money and told her not to give gifts to government employees.

Suan admitted she was already desperate at that time to get the building permit.  Benluan told her to be “patient” and guided her in securing the permit and requirements.

Suan’s letter was inscribed on the plaque given to him  yesterday.  (Read the full text in Opinion page  12.)

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