Sagada mayor charged for graft, no SALN


SAGADA, Mountain Province  – For not having filed his Statement of Assets and Liabilities (SALN) since elected as municipal mayor of Sagada in 2007, Mayor Eduardo Latawan Jr. has been charged before the office of the Ombudsman for violation of the requirement for government officials to file their SALN and alleged acts of graft and corrupt practices.

Along with call for preventive suspension, the complaint filed by private citizen Grace Bandoy charged Latawan for entering into infrastructure contracts while in public office as mayor of the municipality of Sagada which is contrary to existing rules and regulations and conflict of interest in his case as an elected official and a public works contractor at the same time.

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 2013 documents noted that Eduardo Latawan Jr. is the contact person for ETLatawan Construction with expired registration.

The complaint filed with the Ombudsman alleged that ‘despite his company’s expired registration with DOLE-CAR, Latawan used his contracting company, ET Latawan Construction,’ represented by his wife Felicitas Latawan, to enter into project agreements with the government for the municipality of Sagada, Mountain Province and other municipalities of Mountain Province.

Contracts entered into by Mayor Latawan and his company in the year 2007 alone amounts to P64.7 million including herein a 9 million peso rehab of Mt Province-Kalinga Road.

Among contracts ET Latawan/BMK Construction worked on include the 48 million peso upgrading of the Sagada Dantay road in 2010.

Engineer by profession and registered contractor of ET Latawan Construction, Latawan had been constructing government projects including the Bontoc commercial building, Bontoc General Hospital and Capitol Building before he was elected into office as mayor of Sagada municipality in 2007.

Now in his third term of office as mayor of Sagada, Latawan acquired properties including a house built in Antadao in 2010 and lots in southern and eastern Sagada while in government elective position but the same were not reportedly declared in his supposed sworn statement of assets and liabilities and net worth to be filed with the Ombudsman annually by government officials and employees.

He also acquired properties in Baguio City while he is the mayor of Sagada including those in St. Tomas, Pacdal and Quezon Hill from 2008 to 2014.

Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct of Public Officials and Employees requires  all state workers, whether regular or under temporary status to file SALN on or before April 30 of every year, mandating them to declare their net worth as of December 31 of the preceding calendar year.

Failure to file SALN is punishable with suspension of one to six months for the first offense, and dismissal from service for the second offense.

Latawan cannot be reached for comment on the said brewing issue against him as of presstime.

The Ombudsman is expected to summon Latawan to answer the complaint filed against him before coming out with a resolution on the said issue. By Dexter A. See