Cebu News

Two Mandaue City mayoralty bets: Lolypop, Luigi sued for graft

Michael Vencynth H. Braga - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The two mayoral candidates in Mandaue City are now subject of investigations by the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for criminal offenses they allegedly committed while at their previous posts.

Mandaue City residents Lito Ferrater and Allan Bisquera filed yesterday morning complaints against incumbent City Councilor Emmarie "Lolypop" Ouano-Dizon for allegedly failing to disclose in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) the proceeds of the sale of her real property.

They asked that Dizon be suspended preventively while investigation is ongoing.

Based on her 2011 SALN, Dizon indicated in her assets under real properties a 2,500-square meter commercial lot located in Barangay Subangdaku in Mandaue, with an assessed value of P10 million.

On July 17, 2012, Dizon and her husband, Nixon Ting, executed a deed of absolute sale for the said lot in favor of Foton Motor Philippines, Inc. in the amount of P20 million.

Complainants Ferrater and Bisquera said they discovered that Dizon no longer declared in her 2013 to 2014 SALNs the property, as well as the proceeds from its sale.

"Respondent's (Dizon's) total net worth for the years 2012 and 2013 as declared in her SALNs have barely P1 million differences from P37, 075, 000 in 2012 to P38, 120, 000 in 2013," they said.

Because of this, Dizon allegedly violated Republic Act 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) and RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), which govern the full disclosure of and submission of true detailed SALN.

They alleged further that the councilor also committed falsification of documents and perjury punishable under the Revised Penal Code.

Citing the elements of falsification, the complainant said Dizon made an "untruthful statement in a narration of facts" by failing to declare the proceeds of the sale in her SALN while she had legal obligation to disclose such transaction as required under the law.

"The facts narrated by respondent (Dizon) in her 2012 and 2013 SALNs are absolute false because there was no indication of the sale of the declared property to hide the realization of income," they added.

As to perjury, they said Dizon made it appear in her SALNs, which were executed under oath, that there was no sale of the lot.

They further alleged that the acts of Dizon constitute dishonesty, misconduct and "conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service" under Presidential Decree 807 (Civil Service Decree).

Dizon, in a text message to reporters, said she would only comment on the matter once she receives a copy of the complaint.  Dizon is running for mayor under One Cebu Party against Sixth District Rep. Luigi Quisumbing.

Charges  vs  Luigi

Incidentally, Quisumbing is also facing complaints of his own, also at the Ombudsman.

Three hours after the filing of the complaint against Dizon, a certain Roberto Letaba, also a resident of Mandaue City, lodged a graft complaint against Quisumbing for allegedly procuring vehicles using his Priority Development Assistance Fund from a company owned by his family.

Letaba said Quisumbing's act constitutes graft and is a "clear case" of conflict of interest.

Letaba anchored his complaint on the 2013 report of the Commission on Audit, which revealed that Quisumbing channeled his pork barrel funds for 2011 and 2012 to the Cebu provincial government for the purchase of the 19 multicabs totaling P4.7 million.

COA also discovered that the procurement was made without a public bidding and that the vehicles were procured from Porta Coeli Industrial Company, Incorporated, an affiliate of Norkis Group of Companies.

Letaba said a check at the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed that Porta Coeli Industrial Company, Incorporated is owned by the Quisumbing family.

Under the anti-graft law, a public officer is prohibited from having financial interest in any business, contract or transaction "in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest."

In a text message, Quisumbing said he, too, has yet to receive a copy of the complaint but said the case is "purely politically motivated" and has become a "tool for harassment." —(FREEMAN)

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