Lim, Moreno allies trade accusationsBy Jaymee T. Gamil
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A new cause of disagreement has broken out between the camps of Mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, this time, about the P90,000 monthly financial assistance each member of the city council receives from the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
While all of the 38 Manila councilors are entitled to the extra funding for their constituents which is coursed through their respective foundations, Lim’s chief of staff Ricardo de Guzman has reported that nine councilors aligned with Domagoso recently asked the mayor for help.
De Guzman said that Councilors Edward Tan, Cristy Isip, Irma Alfonso-Juson, Ian Nieva, Robert Ortega, Luisito Chua, Ruben Buenaventura, Re Fugoso and Beth Rivera had approached Josie Siscar, another councilor who is close to Lim, to ask if she could talk to the mayor.
The nine were among the 28 councilors who joined Domagoso in May when he joined former President Joseph Estrada’s United Nationalist Alliance.
Estrada earlier announced his intention to run for mayor against Lim in next year’s election with Domagoso as his running mate.
According to the nine councilors, instead of getting the full amount, they each end up with only P72,000 whenever the fund is coursed through the city council which has explained that the P18,000 is for liquidation costs.
De Guzman said that with Lim’s help, the nine councilors received in full last month their funding from Pagcor for the month of November.
“This just shows that Mayor Lim does not play favorites. If he can help, he will,” he added.
The other councilors, however, claimed in a statement that the funds were not being coursed through the city council but through the city treasurer’s office.
In addition, in order to get the funds, you must have the approval of the city mayor, they said, adding that for some reason, all of the 28 councilors who aligned themselves with Domagoso have yet to get their funding from Pagcor.
The last that was released was for the month of October, they stated.
Majority leader Honey Lacuna-Pangan also went on to say that the Pagcor funds for November were released only last month because Domagoso met with Pagcor Chair Cristino Naguiat.
At the same time, city council spokesperson Councilor Ernesto “Jong” Isip Jr. denied that the council charges each councilor a liquidation fee for the release of the Pagcor funds.
At the same time, he said that none of the councilors had gone to Lim for help.
According to him, the claim from Lim’s camp was a “false report” to create public perception that Domagoso’s allies were deserting him.