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Politics behind lifestyle check

CEBU, Philippines - One of those affected by the demolition along Mahiga Creek went to the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas to submit evidence to support their move for a lifestyle check on Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes.

But Mayor Cortes, in a telephone interview, said politics is behind the issue.

“It’s obviously politically motivated. I will no longer answer accusations and I will just face it in the proper forum,” the mayor said.

Roberto Letaba, a resident of Philcadan, Banilad, Mandaue City earlier asked for a lifestyle check on Cortes who he claims owns a multi-million newly built house in Sacres, Barangay Bakilid, Mandaue City.

Letaba presented last Friday photos of the alleged multi-million house of Cortes to Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol.

He said he requested the Ombudsman to check if this was from ill-gotten wealth. He also claims that Cortes acquired other real and personal properties during his incumbency as mayor.

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“We know how much his salary is,” he said.

Apostol received the evidence presented by Letaba. He said a lifestyle check is already a fact-finding investigation. He added that they will look into the Statements of Assets and Liabilities (SALN) of Cortes.

Apostol said they welcome reports or complaints about ill-gotten wealth of public officials as part of their fight against corruption.

The move for a lifestyle check came after members of urban poor organizations Philcadan and Sitio Rosal Neighborhood Association in Banilad, Mandaue City were relocated to the 6.5-hectare that Cortes provided them.

However, Letaba and the other affected families said the relocation site is a timberland and is not a safe place for them to live in. The relocation site located in Paknaan, Mandaue City is intended for the 120 families affected by the demolition.  (FREEMAN)

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