In a seven-page complaint-affidavit, Councilor Brillante Inciong urged the ombudsman to investigate Councilors John Ryan Yllana and Edwin Benzon as well as city council executive assistant Rick Villanueva on charges of graft, violation of Republic Act 6713 or the code of conduct for public officials and employees and attempted corruption of a public officer.
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Parañaque officials sued over gambling permit ‘mill’
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - September 28, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Two councilors and a city council official were charged before the Office of the Ombudsman yesterday for allegedly fasttracking the approval of business permits of several gambling and entertainment firms in exchange for “grease money.”

In a seven-page complaint-affidavit, Councilor Brillante Inciong urged the ombudsman to investigate Councilors John Ryan Yllana and Edwin Benzon as well as city council executive assistant Rick Villanueva on charges of graft, violation of Republic Act 6713 or the code of conduct for public officials and employees and attempted corruption of a public officer.

Inciong also asked the ombudsman to place Yllana, Benzon and Villanueva under preventive suspension while his complaint is being investigated to bar them from using their respective positions in “influencing or intimidating incumbent city officials and other persons” who have knowledge of the supposed anomaly.

Inciong alleged that corrupt practices were rampant in the city council with Yllana as the council’s majority floor leader and chairman of the committee on rules, ethics and oversight. Yllana reportedly  inserts the approval of several Letters of No Objection (LONOs) in favor of gambling firms during the city council’s sessions.

Inciong said the LONO is a requirement before a gaming firm can be issued a permit by the city government and a license or franchise by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. or Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Inciong said that during the city council’s session on April 12, Yllana allegedly inserted in the agenda the approval of 13 LONO applications and moved to waive the deliberation and approval of committee reports.

Inciong said that as the then chairman of the committee on games and amusement, he objected to fasttracking the LONOs’ approval, resulting in a heated argument with Yllana.

Inciong said while he was being pacified by two of his colleagues in an adjacent room, Yllana and the other councilors still pushed through with the passage of 11 of the LONOs in the plenary.

Inciong said that on April 19, Villanueva approached him at the Legislative Building and allegedly attempted to hand him a paper bag containing “LONO money,” which he refused to receive.

Inciong alleged that Villanueva told him that “Boss Ryan” instructed him to hand over the money for the approval of the LONOs during the last city council session.

Inciong said he was able to record his conversation with Villanueva using his cell phone.

Inciong said that on April 26, Benzon approached him near the restroom of the Legislative Building and persuaded him to accept the “LONO money” but he refused anew.

“With all these being said, it can only be inferred that there is a paper mill in the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Parañaque, particularly for the issuance of LONO resolutions favoring companies that promise and give grease money,” Inciong’s complaint read. 

Inciong said the LONO resolution for the Nayonlanding project of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation Inc. was subjected to committee deliberations after the deal was questioned by President Duterte’s distant niece Maria Fema Duterte, who is a board member of NPF.

The Nayonlanding project was ordered terminated by President Duterte last month over alleged anomalies.

Inciong said city administrator Fernando Soriano allegedly attempted to lobby for his commitee’s approval of LONO resolutions in favor of YRB Solutions Inc., allegedly owned by ombudsman special prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval, and Genx Sports and Media Production Inc. allegedly owned by broadcaster Erwin Tulfo.

Inciong said Sandoval denied owning YRB Solutions and promised to investigate the matter.

Inciong said he was stripped of the committee chairmanship on June 21 in a move allegedly initiated by Yllana. 

GAMBLING OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
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