Butuan City mayor denies auctioning off working bulldozer as scrap in 2011

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BUTUAN CITY, Agusan del Norte, Philippines — Supporters of Mayor Ferdinand Amante (Liberal Party) held a motorcade Sunday to decry allegations by his challenger in the May elections that the city government declared a heavy equipment still in good running condition as “unserviceable” and sold it scrap.

Amante’s supporters went to rival Jose Aquino’s headquarters, carrying tarpaulins bearing pictures of what they said was the fake bulldozer Aquino had been using in his smear campaign.  They also had pictures of the original bulldozer that was auctioned off in 2011.

Aquino is challenging the reelectionist Amante in next month’s elections, and the mayor’s supporters said the bulldozer controversy was a product of Aquino’s “mudslinging, dirty tactics, and black propaganda against Amante.”

Carrying portable speakers, Amante’s supporters also took turns in lambasting Buenavista town mayoralty candidate Norberto Pagaspas for “conniving with Aquino in displaying the said bulldozer, which they passed off as the original dozer.”

Norberto Pagaspas is the one who bought the piece of heavy equipment from Emmanuel Vacalares, whose ESV Trading Co. won the local government auction for its “unserviceable” heavy equipment and service vehicles in 2011.

Pagaspas is also an LP member like Amante.

Pagaspas claimed he was totally unaware of the circumstances surrounding the equipment, and had refused to use the machine when he discovered that it was “fraudulently” obtained by ESV Trading.

He has used a vacant lot beside his radio station as a display area for the controversial Caterpillar bulldozer along J.C. Aquino Avenue.

According to government records seen by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the auction yielded an estimated 874,000 kilograms of scrap iron, sold at P2 per kilogram. Pagaspas pointed out that the average price of scrap iron at the time was P18.

At P2 per kilo, the local government earned around P1.7 million. It would have earned some P15.7 million had the average buying price of P11 per kilo been applied.

The auction was a subject of a 2011 graft case at the Ombudsman, which accused Butuan City’s chief of general services, Gemma M. Reserva, of maliciously declaring as “unserviceable” the auctioned heavy equipment and service vehicles.

But Amante, in a press release sent to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, pointed to documents from the Motorpool Division of the City Engineer’s Office dating back to the late 1980s, showing that the original bulldozer auctioned off was donated to the Butuan City government in 1976, and was already four years old at the time of donation.

Pagaspas countered that the bulldozer that he had bought could not have been fake, and challenged Amante’s camp to produce the original equipment, “instead of pictures that can easily be doctored.”

He noted that the D6C Caterpillar bulldozer was only one of the 80 equipment and service vehicles disposed of during the 2011 auction.

But Amante’s camp argued that “prior to the sale of scrap items by the city government, the items were first inspected and assessed by the General Services Office (GSO).”

“All unserviceable items, which included the Caterpillar D6C Bulldozer with serial number 69J268 were declared as unserviceable, as indicated in the Inventory and Inspection Report of Unserviceable Property,” it added.

This report, it said, was then to be submitted to the Office of the Supervising Auditor of the COA for inspection, verification, and endorsement.

Documents obtained by the Inquirer show the public auction was favorably endorsed by COA, as per their Second Endorsement dated March 30, 2011.

The endorsement signed by Andrew Roble, State Auditor IV, stated the total appraisal value of all scrap items was P1.73 Million, and that they have “conducted inspection on each and every property listed therein and recommended disposition thereof in accordance with Section 79 of Presidential Decree No. 1445.”

Amante said his rival should focus on platforms and not resort to black propaganda.

“We want Butuan to move forward, to develop as a highly urbanized city. Thus, the debate should be on our platforms to achieve this. We should not resort to political distortions and black propaganda to sway voters,” Amante said in a statement.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/leodegario.anselmo Leodegario Anselmo

    That Caterpillar D6 Tractor now publicly displayed was actually same tractor sold by Mayor Amante and company. Inventory and Inspection Report (IIR) will reveal that there are two tractors sold by Butuan City Gov’t thru Bids and Awards Committee Amante created in 2011. One tractor is a Komatsu brand. All sold at very cheap price even if they have sold by kilos unfortunately they only have sold it by lots that’s very disadvantageous to Filipino taxpayers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leodegario.anselmo Leodegario Anselmo

    To PDI management :Your PDI correspondent Ador Adorador did not actually conducted investigative journalism of this Here’s why: One, all 80 heavy equipment and government vehicles were not sold by kilos but by lots; Two, it was not Butuan General Services Office who sold it, Mayor Amante formed a committee of Bidding chaired by his own auntie City Administrator CPA and ex-COA official Leah Amante Mendoza and six others all top City Hall officials who were all Amante Boys and Girls to the bones some were formerly working with Agusan del Norte provincial capitol whose Governor and Congresswoman were first cousin of Mayor Amante; Three, COA auditor Andrew Roble must be included in the graft charges if in case there is case questioning his technical capability in approving it as “Unserviceable Equipment”. By the way, I just stumble one good article at facebook, this issue is better explained at FB posted story .Just look at account of Manassas Benedict L. Serrano FB account sa kanya nakuha nya yung side ng COA at Butuan City Gov’t PIO. Balanse pagkasulat noong tao.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leodegario.anselmo Leodegario Anselmo

    Why blamed Amante’s rival Joboy Aquino when it was not Aquino who put that tractor for public display. That Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr. “The hero of Kalikasan according. to P-Noy” was lying double whammy. First he said according to this PDI that said tractor or bulldozer or whatever is fake and now when challenged by Pagaspas to show proof that it is fake because Pagaspas will also prove that it was same tractor sold by Amante and company, he back tracks by saying it was the GSO who sell it not him and that COA auditor Andrew Roble who is brother of Executive Assistant of Governor Amante of Agusan del Norte, Mayor Amante’s first cousin belonging Amante Dynastic Family approved it. Ano ba talaga Mayor? Truly all this Amantes dapat Kalusin Na sa Gobyerno! Grabe korapsyon dyan sa Agusan. For five decades these Amantes ruled Agusan del Norte and all they have done is to impoverished the people of Agusan del Norte. Just look around and dig deeper into the situation of the people there grabe kahirapan na tinatakpan ng provincial capitol tsk tsk tsk

  • http://www.facebook.com/leodegario.anselmo Leodegario Anselmo

    The People of Butuan City must now unite to seek truth about this issue or else you will always live in lies, intrigues, money politics and deception. Comes a time kayo-kayo na ang mag aaway dyan like hungry dogs fighting a single bone. WAKE UP BUTUANONs!

  • http://www.facebook.com/leodegario.anselmo Leodegario Anselmo

    It was Broadcaster turned politician and businessman Norbert Pagaspas (not Norberto as Ador Adorador puts in his story) who displayed the tractor in retaliation of Mayor Amante’s filing of libel charges against him not Joboy Aquino so why Amante and his supporters banged on Aquino? Mayor, you are barking the wrong tree yata! Anyway according to Mayor Amante the animosity between him, Norbert Pagaspas and City Councilor Erwin Dano was when he (Amante) refused to placed political ads worth P5-M in Pagaspas’ radio station. There must also be impartial investigation to this because Pagaspas denied this and said it was Amante through his close runners and aides who tried allegedly to bribe Pagaspas to stop his expose’ regarding this tractor issue, Tingnan Natin kung sino nagsabi ng totoo talaga!

  • http://www.facebook.com/leodegario.anselmo Leodegario Anselmo

    Investigate also the City Engineering Office who declared these gov’t owned 80 units of heavy equipment and service vehicles as unserviceable. Maintenance of these gov’t properties must be properly investigated. This Butuan Scrao Issue is actually an eye opener because almost all government agencies and LGUs all over the country maybe are doing the same. Kawawang mga Pinoy habang sila ay nabubuhay sa hirap at gutom itong mga gov’t officials na ito ay kinukurakot pa ang kalawang! Tsk..Tsk Tsk…

  • dax4e

    grabe sobrang corrupt nito mayor na to

  • Hey_Dudes

    Things politicians do and when caught – they lie and some times will probably kill to get their way. Remember the decade when the Japanese government was ordered to pay war reparations for the damage did to the country? Do you know and can you still recall the news during the past administrations who oversaw this gold rain from Japan? I will give you a clue this happens during the 50’s and 60’s from there you can deduce who were at the helm of government. Due to corruption and money to be made from it, government gave listings to Japanese government of equipment it need to rehabilitate damages in parts of the country. Years later, it was discovered most of the equipment brought in by government were mostly not used, rotting at many BPWH yards around the country. In other words, in spite of many lives lost and damages to the country’s infrastructure, the Japanese reparation materials only benefited few politicians. It must have made few of them millionaires during that time. The culture continue thriving today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leodegario.anselmo Leodegario Anselmo

    It was the time of the Golden Arenola presidency when all repatriation equipment from Japan were corrupted

    • pabloo6293

      Hindi ba reparation, not repatriation?

  • klepto

    naman mga pulitikong magnanakaw. pare-pareho lang silang mga walang silbi. mabuti pa mag kantutan na lang sa puwet ang dalawang magka rival na eto.

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