Mayor, et al face raps over abattoir deal
Mylen P. Manto and Michael Vencynth H. Braga/JMO (The Freeman) - March 12, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Minglanilla Mayor Elanito Peña and 12 others are facing criminal and administrative complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for at least three alleged infractions.

They are accused of granting the demolition of the old municipal abattoir and allowing a private company to use the building. They are also accused of allowing the construction of a new slaughterhouse without the support of an ordinance and public bidding.

The other respondents are Vice Mayor Robert John Selma; municipal administrator Concordio Mejias; municipal engineer Nestor Sotes, deputized zoning administrator engineer Domingo Celeste Enad; councilors Samuel Adlawan, Jr., Rajiv Enad and Roy Nacario; municipal treasu-rer Wilfredo Alidon; municipal budget officer Arabella Bastinen; and Thomas Lim Chua and Joven Hapalad of Popular Feed Mills Corporation.

Brother Peter Simon of the Franciscan Friars of Charity, Dazel Selma Ordeniza, and Emmanuel Requirolso, Jr., alleged the respondents violated the procurement law, anti-graft and corrupt practices act, anti-red tape law, dereliction of duty, grave abuse of power and authority, gross negligence of duty, and giving undue advantage to a private corporation.

The complaints said that on May 5, 2014, they filed a complaint before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for the alleged unhygienic conditions of the newly constructed slaughterhouse in the town.

On July 31, DENR’s Environment Management Bureau summoned the complainants, officers and members of Lower Calajo-an Homeowners Association (LOCAHA) in Calajoan, Minglanilla; and the Cebu Alliance in Action against Crime and Corruption to air out their concerns.

“After several hours of discussion of the aforesaid date, the municipal mayor made commitments and promises to the bureau to have anti-pollution, mitigating an enhancement measure that in any way would address the concern,” the affidavit reads.  On August 5, the complainants attended the regular session of the town council upon Peña’s invitation for the latter to shed light on the concerns.

It was reportedly during the session that the complainants learned that there was a “swapping of land between the municipality of Minglanilla and Popular Feeds Mill Corporation (PFMC).”

The PFMC will reportedly use the property of the old slaughterhouse in the town as compensation for purchasing the lot near the new public market where the new slaughterhouse would be constructed.

Complainants alleged they also learned that “PFMC paid the municipality a certain amount of money for the purchase of the lot and the construction of new slaughterhouse in exchange for the old slaughterhouse located adjacent to PFMC.”

However, they reportedly learned from the municipal treasurer that the municipality did not receive any compensation from PFMC. This is reportedly questionable because the town allowed PFMC to take over the property where the old slaughterhouse stood and to demolish the building without compensation.

The complainants also questioned where the municipality got the funds to construct the new slaughterhouse. The municipal accountant and budget officer reportedly could not give answer when asked about the budget for the construction of the new slaughterhouse.

 

Beneficial swap

Peña said the utilization of the area of the old slaughterhouse is covered by a “land swapping” agreement.

He said the lot surrounding the old slaughterhouse was purchased by PFMC and what was left was the facility owned by the town. This is reportedly why PFMC proposed the “land swapping” scheme.

Under the scheme, PFMC provided the lot located just few meters way from the old slaughterhouse in Barangay Calajo-an and built the new slaughterhouse with no cost on the part of the municipal government.  Peña said the town agreed to the scheme because it is beneficial. A formal agreement was inked in 2012 and the town can present the formal document. 

“Wa gud mi gastuhan. Advantage pud kaayo mi kay ang yuta gihatag para namo, mas dako pa kaysa sa amo, bag-o pud ang building,” Peña said.

He believed that politics is behind the complaint.

“Kay hapit na ang election. Wa gyud ko ka-sabot nganong gikiha mi nga naay advantage man ang gobiyerno ana,” he said, adding, that he is eyeing at filing counter-charges.

“Mobaws gyod mi ana, nagsamok-samok lang na sila.” — (FREEMAN)

ARABELLA BASTINEN BARANGAY CALAJO BROTHER PETER SIMON OF THE FRANCISCAN FRIARS OF CHARITY CEBU ALLIANCE CONCORDIO MEJIAS CRIME AND CORRUPTION MUNICIPAL PFMC SLAUGHTERHOUSE
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