‘Grossly unfair:’ Solons named by Duterte deny corruption
MANILA, Philippines — Some House lawmakers named by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday as allegedly linked to corruption cried foul and denied being involved in alleged corrupt practices in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“I vehemently deny the baseless and grossly unfair accusation! The PACC [Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission] and or any government agency has not conducted any investigation regarding any project in my province,” Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephin Ramirez-Sato told INQUIRER.net in a text message.
“I challenge them to investigate!” she added.
In a separate statement, she said she stands by her “solid track record” in her 30 years of public service.
“I challenge (PACC) Commissioner (Greco) Belgica to prove his allegations against me by observing due process and the rule of law,” Sato said.
She said Belgica is “a known ally and party mate of a prominent incumbent official in our province of Occidental Mindoro.”
“This politician intends to run against me in the upcoming 2022 local elections. The report made by Commissioner Belgica which impinges on my credentials as a public servant is clearly calculated to sow intrigues and disruption in the local politics of Occidental Mindoro,” Sato said.
“Meanwhile, I shall continue serving my constituents in the province of Occidental Mindoro, as we continue to build back for a better normal amidst the pandemic and the recent typhoons that battered us,” she added.
Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza said the corruption allegations against him are “[n]othing further from the truth.”
Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Paul Daza on Duterte's corruption allegations: Nothing further from the truth. The President himself said names to be read may not have any evidence. | @JMAurelioINQ
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) December 28, 2020ADVERTISEMENT
“The President himself said names to be read may not have any evidence,” Daza said.
He suspects that it was the “handiwork of my local political opponents to feed wrong libelous info to the PACC.”
Daza: I'm 100 % sure this was the handiwork of my local political opponents to feed to wrong libelous info to the PACC. | @JMAurelioINQ
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) December 28, 2020
“In fact, the records will show that it is the reverse as we have been the ones complaining of anomalous projects in my district as early as 2016 perpetrated by former elected officials and certain contractors,” he added.
‘My conscience is clear’
Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman also denied any involvement with corruption, saying she was “shocked” that her name was mentioned by the President.
“I am shocked to hear that my name was mentioned by the President in a list of Congressmen allegedly involved in anomalies in their projects,” Roman said in a Facebook post.
I am shocked to hear that my name was mentioned by the President in a list of Congressmen allegedly involved in…
“Public service has never been a money-making venture for me or my family whose good name is highly esteemed in Bataan. I am comforted by the fact that the President clarified that there is no verified information in this regard,” she added.
The lawmaker said she is open to “any investigation to establish the truth on this matter and I am sure that my honor will be vindicated.”
“My conscience is clear,” Roman added.
For Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, he expressed confidence that he “will be cleared” since the President himself said that “there is no solid evidence” against him and the other lawmakers mentioned.
“I am ready to submit myself to an investigation by the proper authority. The mere allegation is not proof,” Vargas said in a statement.
“I have been a public servant for the last 12 years. My record is unblemished. My conscience is clear. I will not allow my political detractors, who misinformed PACC, to tarnish my name and reputation with wild accusations bereft of the truth,” he added.
“Mukha pong napadalhan ang PACC ng maling impormasyon ng mga nakakalaban natin sa pulitika,” he further said.
Former Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. also denied receiving any “kickback” from infrastructure projects in his province.
“Kung tumatanggap ako ng kickback noong Congressman ako, di na sana ako naghihirap tumulong magbenta ng pinunnog, honey at kape ng mga Cordilleran producers,” he said on Twitter.
[Translation: If I was receiving kickbacks when I was congressman, I would not be working hard helping sell the pinnunog, honey, and coffee of the Cordilleran producers.]
Kung tumatanggap ako ng kickback noong Congressman ako, di na sana ako naghihirap tumulong magbenta ng pinunnog, honey at kape ng mga Cordilleran producers. pic.twitter.com/i8b18JA6QU
— Teddy B. Baguilat (@TeddyBaguilatJr) December 28, 2020
“Yung meron ebidensya na nag Mañanita at lumabag sa batas e promoted. Yung wala naman ebidensya na kumuha ng kickback, tinira sa primetime TV,” he added in another tweet.
[Someone who had evidence showing he had a mañanita and broke the law was promoted. Someone who has no evidence against him that he got a kickback was hit on primetime TV. I am aggrandized.]
Yung meron ebidensya na nag Mañanita at lumabag sa batas e promoted. Yung wala naman ebidensya na kumuha ng kickback, tinira sa primetime TV. I am aggrandized.
— Teddy B. Baguilat (@TeddyBaguilatJr) December 28, 2020
ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap, meanwhile, scheduled a press conference on Tuesday to address the corruption allegations against him.
Yap also serves as the caretaker of the congressional district of Benguet and as House appropriations committee chair.
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