Duterte orders probe on Tabuk vice mayor

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – President Rodrigo Duterte tasked the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to conduct an investigation on charges of dishonesty and falsification of documents against vice mayor Benardo Glenn Dao-as on the reported misappropriation of fuel that had been charged against public funds using a number of private vehicles.

In his complaint, Jon Dulawen A. Ya-o, a job order employee of the Tabuk City Government, claimed that from March to May 2020, the vice mayor, with alleged malicious motives and intents, reportedly defrauded the local government having allegedly utilized his gas allocations to non-existent vehicles, particularly those that are nowhere to be found and unregistered in the city.

Worst, the complainant claimed that Dao-as allegedly submitted signed monthly reports of official travels as attachments to vouchers for payments of the gas consumptions of vehicles and in such reports, it included among others SFA-764 and SJB-734 knowing that the same are no longer in running condition or are unserviceable vehicles of the city.

Ya-o pointed out that the vice mayor’s alleged fraudulent acts are even more established by verifications with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Kalinga and upon further inquiry with the same office, its database showed that the vehicles with their corresponding plate numbers were verified to have been registered as far as in Mandaue City, Palawan, Koronadal, Dipolog City, Pasay City, Novaliches and most are with no records found in the LTO registry.

According to him, by virtue of the vice mayor’s alleged dishonest acts of using trip tickets and gas slips as schemes to withdraw gas and diesel supporting the same to be official and legitimate operations of his office, the Cordillera Fuel Station located in the city supplied gasoline and diesel to him and his conspirators and drivers and unknown beneficiaries.

He alleged that comparisons made between the verified LTO record and monthly reports of official travels signed and approved by the vice mayor from March to May 2020 showed that there was a pattern of alleged falsification and illegal use of public funds because some of the vehicles are junked and non-existent.

In his reply to the aforesaid complaint, Vice Mayor Dao-as suspects that the complaint was filed in retaliation for his previous charges against the local chief executive and that he vehemently denied having committed any dishonesty and falsification in the preparation of the monthly report of official travel cited in the complaint.

Likewise, the vice mayor also denied that he used any fuel of the local government for his private interest although it was stated in the vouchers that the same was used to deliver snacks at the height of the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Dao-as emphasized that the monthly report of official travel were prepared by personnel in the city council and that he relied in the reports prepared by the said personnel and that he signed the aforesaid reports in good faith and that he has no knowledge as to any error or falsity in such reports.

He stipulated that the reports and all previous reports were duly approved by the General Services Officer and the City Accountant of the city, thus, he has good reasons to put full faith and credence in the reports prepared by the personnel of the city council.

Vice Mayor Dao-as explained that he never received the payments for the fuel consumed by the Office of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and that the vouchers showed that the payment for the fuel were duly received by the Cordillera fuel station, thus, the allegations that he profited from the transactions are baseless.

Based on a certification issued by LTO-Kalinga officer-in-charge Jennilyn Angog, the license plate numbers that were allegedly used in supporting the release of gas and diesel from the vice mayor’s allocations were registered in various places such as TRA-591 registered in Laoag City, YBA-618 registered in Mandaue City, TBA-613 registered in Guimbal, RDT-255 registered in Pasay City, NBR-991 registered in Novaliches, NRA-661 registered in Novaliches, XJY-561 registered in Iba, ABE-194 registered in Imus, DTA-331 registered in Bin֮an, DAR-441 registered in Lingayen, RBA-125 registered in Koronadal, VRAG-616 registered in Palawan, TAR-715 registered in Davao City, RBA-679 registered in Baloc, XIV-225 registered in Kalookan, LAB-717 registered in Dipolog City, YAR-225 registered in Guimbal while EPT-619, RTC-651, ABD-213, MRS-210, ARD-881, RSA-6618, APR-221, RTD-554, ARY-453, ART-617, LRA-209, NTA-518, ABU-192, ASP-617, TRA-661, BTR-651, ASP-196, BRA-618, PTB-619, BBA-618, NTA-461, Y-881 among others have no records with the agency.

Ya-o stipulated that he was compelled to file the complaint because he wants that the limited resources of the city should be wisely used for the benefit of the people of the city and not for any other purpose.

He questioned how the aforesaid vehicles were in Tabuk at the time of the lockdown to help deliver snacks when there were restrictions imposed on the movement of people and vehicles, except for the authorized ones, thus, such act is allegedly tainted with dishonesty and corruption right from the start. The complaint docketed as OP-DC Case No. 21-A-008 was formally endorsed by the City Local Government Operations officer and the Provincial Local government Operations Officer to the Office of the President for the conduct of the preliminary investigation pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations. By HENT

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