Cagayan town mayor accused of graft for beach property takeover

Elizabeth Marcelo - Philstar.com
Cagayan town mayor accused of graft for beach property takeover
Mayor Pua allegedly conspired with a couple to seize beachfront property in Alcala town, Cagayan.
File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Alcala, Cagayan Mayor Criselda Antonio-Pua is facing a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for her alleged unlawful takeover of a 12,000-square meter beach property in Sta. Ana town.

In her six-page complaint-affidavit filed Thursday, Sta. Ana resident Consuelo Naidas-Orteza urged the ombudsman to investigate Pua for supposed violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Named as Pua's co-accused in the complaint were couple Jarl Permentier — a Belgian national — and Ofelia Alipio-Permentier.

Orteza, in her complaint written in Filipino, recounted that her family incurred more than P2 million in debt following the hospitalization and eventual death of her husband in December 2007.

Orteza, who was left with six children to raise, said this prompted her to sell 12,000 square meters of her and her husband's 16,000-square meter beach cove property in Barangay Rapuli, Sta. Ana town.

Orteza said the Permentier couple, in April 2016, offered to buy the property at P10.8 million, on the condition that she will be the one to process its Transfer of Title and other related documents. Orteza said the couple initially gave her P1 million as payment for the processing expenses.

Orteza said that in the same month, the couple made her sign the Deed of Sale and promised her that they will pay the remaining amount once the title of the property was transferred.

Orteza said she was the able to transfer the title of the 12,000-square meter property under Ofelia's name on November 8, 2016, but when she informed the couple about it, they supposedly told her that Mayor Pua would be the one to give her the remaining payment.

Orteza said the Permentier couple accompanied her to Pua's office in January 2017, and the latter supposedly confirmed that she will be the one to shoulder the balance payment. On the same day, the mayor supposedly issued to Orteza 14 post-dated checks with the total amount of P6.75 million.

Orteza, however, said all the checks bounced, and when she informed Pua about it, the mayor instead handed her a promissory note stating that she will pay a balance of P8.35 million. Months have passed and no payment was made, Orteza said.

Orteza said she also called Ofelia to press for payment, but the latter supposedly cursed her and told her that she can no longer do anything about it.

Orteza said the Permentier couple then began putting up fences over the property and deploying heavily armed men. Orteza said the property taken over by the couple also went beyond the agreed 12,000 square meters.

“Because of the conspiracy between the Permentier couple and Mayor Pua, they were able to seize a large portion of our property, which is the only beach cove in our village,” Orteza said in Filipino in her complaint.

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