DAGUPAN CITY—Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza said the supposed P4.7-billion plunder case filed against him and other city officials by a group of incumbent and former barangay chairs in his city was not only absurd and ridiculous, but a bum steer.
In a news conference here on Wednesday, Braganza said he could never have misused P4.7 billion of the city’s funds because Alaminos’ budget for eight years that he has been serving as mayor reached only P2.4 billion.
“If the loan from the government bank is included, the total money that passed through the city while I was mayor was only P2.7 billion. Even if I pocketed all of that money, it is still below the [almost] P5 billion that I am accused of plundering,” he said.
“It was a bum steer. The village chairs, our journalist friends from Manila were taken for a ride,” he said.
The complaint against Braganza, who is challenging reelectionist Gov. Amado Espino Jr., came after the governor was charged with plunder at the Ombudsman in December for his alleged involvement in the operations of the illegal numbers game “jueteng” in the province and for allegedly accepting payoffs from jueteng operators.
The plunder and malversation of public funds charges filed against Braganza stemmed from the alleged misuse of a P300-million loan taken out in 2007 and a multimillion-peso budget for the construction of an airport.