Abra town mayor, vice mayor suspended over anomalous road project
BAGUIO CITY – The Abra provincial board has slapped Lagayan town mayor Jendricks Luna and his wife, Vice Mayor Joy Chrisma Luna, with a six-month suspension over an allegedly fraudulent road project worth P1.07 million.
The suspension order was passed on Dec. 6 and transmitted on Dec. 7 but Luna has not issued a statement, saying he has not yet read the board’s decision.
Except for one member, the provincial board chaired by Vice Governor Ronald Balao-as found the Lagayan officials guilty of dishonesty and grave misconduct in connection with the 1,740-meter-long Bai-Nagba Road in Ba-i village.
The Luna couple’s suspension stemmed from a complaint filed in August by Lagayan councilor Noel Cortez regarding the project which was financed using Lagayan’s share from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).
Cortez said the road remained “a pebble and dirt road,” contrary to Mayor Luna’s report that it was completed.
in the course of the investigation, Abra Governor Joy Bernos placed the Luna couple under preventive suspension on Sept. 1.
In their pleadings to the provincial board, the Luna couple maintained that the road project exists, submitting photographs of a concrete road.
But the Provincial Engineering Office inspection team disputed them, reporting that they encountered a dirt road.
The provincial board said Mayor Luna’s “act of making it appear that the subject project was complete but, in truth, was not even started, is a blatant lie and a clear act of dishonesty which warrants administrative penalty.”
It said Vice Mayor Luna was likewise liable as presiding officer of the Lagayan Sangunniang Bayan (municipal council) which approved the project and its financial allocation.