Cebu News

San Fernando mayor, 2 others sued for graft

Gregg M. Rubio - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The proponent of the P12.5 billion port project in Barangay Sangat, San Fernando yesterday filed criminal and administrative charges against town Mayor Lakambini Reluya for allegedly suspending the project to favor another contractor.

Ruben Feliciano, president of First Sangat SF International Port Corporation, assisted by lawyer Felizardo Tiu filed the complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

Also named respondents were Barangay Panadtaran Captain Ricardo "Nonoy" Reluya Jr., the mayor's husband, and Teodoro Genaro Abastillas Reyes, president of Melekon Contractors, Inc. (MCI).

Mayor Reluya issued Executive Order No. 5 on February 27, 2018 suspending any construction, development and reclamation projects for a port in the shoreline, coastline of Barangay Sangat, after the Sangguniang Bayan allegedly did not grant her request to nullify SB Resolution No. 152.

Barangay and SB Resolutions endorsing the project and interposing no objection for the development and construction of the port with reclamation component were approved on August 15, 2017 and May 22, 2017, respectively.

Feliciano earlier announced the groundbreaking of the project on March 2, 2018 after the Cebu Port Authority on January 29, 2018 issued a provisional permit to construct.

Among Reluya's basis to suspend the project was the alleged complaint of the North Sangat Bantay Dagat Fishermen's Association on January 2, 2018 represented by a certain Fernando Alavisar Jr.

Feliciano said the complainant's name turned out to be fictitious as per certification of Sangat Barangay Captain Ranulfo Sasuman. The mobile phone number indicated was also discovered to be owned by another person.

In a letter dated March 16, 2018, Mayor Reluya also stated that another basis for the issuance of the EO was the complaint of Melekon Contractors, Inc. dated January 17, 2018.  

Feliciano and Tiu entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Reyes "to form a new Special Purpose Vehicle Company" to be used in the implementation and development of the project once all permits in relation to the said project have been secured.

However, Reyes reportedly caused the preparation of the Articles of Incorporation of Sangat Bay Development Corporation, which is a Special Purpose Vehicle Company that will undertake the project but did not include the name of Tiu as incorporator in violation of the MOA dated May 15, 2017.

The MCI, on the first week of January 2018, started with the development and construction works, however, the CPA issued a show cause order why their pending application for a Permit to Construct should not be denied for starting the project without necessary permit. Subsequently a Cease and Desist Order was issued against Reyes and MCI.

On January 29, the CPA issued a Provisional Permit to Construct to FSSIPC which immediately scheduled the groundbreaking and invited Mayor Reluya, Governors Hilario Davide III of Cebu and Zaldy Villa of Siquijor, and members of the Regional Development Council.

Feliciano said he personally confronted Mayor Reluya sometime in April about the EO since the problem between his company and MCI is "purely an internal matter" among them and it needs to be resolved within their organization.

During their conversation, Feliciano said Reluya demanded from him to return the money allegedly invested by MCI in the amount of P17 million and that she will discuss the matter with Reyes, which he turned down.

"Remember Mr. Feliciano, kun dili mo magkasinabot ni Ted Reyes dili na masugdan inyo project," Feliciano quoted Reluya as saying.

On February 28, Feliciano said he incidentally saw the mayor's husband, Nonoy, and Reyes at a lobby of a hotel in Manila together "conspiring and confederating together to stop and derail the groundbreaking" of the project.

Mayor Reluya refused to comment on the charges as of last night. She said she will formally answer the complaints in a press conference on Monday.— FPL (FREEMAN)




  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with