Amid drug allegations, Iloilo Mayor Mabilog also faces graft raps
Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, tagged in President Duterte’s list of alleged narcopoliticians, was indicted to be charged with graft for an anomalous towing deal in 2015.
In a statement on Monday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said she found probable cause to charge Mabilog and Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) member Plaridel Nava II with one count each of violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Ombudsman accused Mabilog and Nava of having pecuniary interest in 3L Towing Services, which signed a memorandum of agreement with the local government in implementing the city’s clamping ordinance.
Records showed that the Sanggunian in 2015 approved a resolution authorizing Mabilog to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with 3L Towing Services for the implementation of the city’s clamping ordinance.
Under the MOA, the towing company would collect 70 percent of the fines, while the local government unit would receive 30 percent.
But after 3L proprietor Leny Garcia wrote Mabilog and offered to withdraw from the MOA facing “legal issues,” Nava took to the Ombudsman to allege that Mabilog is the true owner of 3L.
According to the Ombudsman’s statement, Nava alleged that “Mabilog allegedly employed his services to perpetuate and consummate his illegitimate, immoral, dishonest and underground acts and transactions with private groups and corporate personalities doing or intending to do business in the city of Iloilo by using his power and influence as the chief executive of the city government.”
Nava said he was instructed by Mabilog to look for a dummy owner and come up with an estimate cost and expenses on the clamping business.
Nava admitted reporting to Mabilog about the business venture, and that Mabilog in 2014 gave P500,000 as part of his capital contribution to the clamping business.
Nava said Mabilog allegedly expedited the release of the business and mayor’s permits of the towing company.
Mabilog for his part pointed Nava as being the one with pecuniary interest “because it was the latter who told him about it and its intention of bidding for the towing project even defending the qualifications of 3L.”
In its resolution, the Ombudsman said both Mabilog and Nava are liable for pecuniary interest for conspiring with each other to set up the clamping business venture.
“(W)hile Mabilog and Nava pointed to each other as the true owner of 3L and thus have financial or pecuniary interest in the MOA for towing and clamping, one thing is clear from their accusations and counter-accusations—both colluded to create 3L, to get Garcia to act as its dummy owner, to have the business registered with the DTI and BIR, to secure its business and mayor’s permits, and to have it awarded the MOA with the city government without going through a competitive process,” the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman said Nava as complainant was also liable “when he sponsored the wheel clamping ordinance as a supplement to the towing ordinance” and when he “sponsored the amendments to the towing ordinance allowing a private party to enter into a MOA with the city government for a term of five years without mentioning as to how the entity should be chosen.”
“As admitted by Nava himself, it was done so with 3L in mind,” the Ombudsman said in indicting the complainant.
Under Section 3(h) of the anti-graft law, public officials are prohibited from directly or indirectly having financing or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the constitution or by any law from having any interest.
Mabilog left the Philippines since Aug. 31 for international summits, after he was publicly tagged by President Duterte as a drug lord in the Visayas region. He has gone on sick leave since then for tests for diabetes. His family had also left the country due to security concerns. /je
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