‘I’m ready to resign if proven guilty of corruption,’ says Yap of ACT-CIS
MANILA, Philippines — ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap on Tuesday said he would leave his post if he is proven guilty of corruption.
“I’m ready to leave. Kahit hindi ako tanggalin ni [House] Speaker, once I’m proven guilty, I will resign,” Yap told reporters in an online press conference after his name was tagged as among the congressmen allegedly linked to corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects.
Citing a report from the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), President Rodrigo Duterte, during a speech aired Monday night, mentioned Yap and eight other lawmakers as those allegedly linked to corruption.
The lawmakers mentioned denied such allegations.
In naming Yap, Duterte, reading the report of the PACC, said that the congressman allegedly rigged the bidding for an infrastructure project in Benguet “through his agent.”
Duterte also said Yap allegedly exerted “influence in choosing his district engineer to be able to control the awarding of projects in the district assigned to him.”
The PACC claimed that Yap had called up Commissioner Greco Belgica requesting him to drop the case against a certain district engineer Lorna Ricardo.
But Yap, legislative caretaker of Benguet and House appropriations committee chair, denied all claims made in the PACC’s report to the President.
He clarified that he did not participate in biddings for infrastructure projects in the province.
“Yung bidding daw pinakikialaman ko, ang gusto ko lang sabihin pagdating ko dito bilang caretaker ng Benguet nung January 27, halos tapos na ata lahat ng bidding ng projects for 2020,” Yap said.
(They said that I meddled with the biddings for infrastructure projects, what I want to say is I have never been involved in the bidding, when I came to Benguet as its legislative caretaker on January 27, all biddings have already been completed.)
“I’m not aware kung papaano nangyari ang bidding at ni minsan sa buong buhay ko, hindi pa po ako nakapasok ng bidding ng DPWH,” he added.
(I’m not aware of the bidding and never in my life have I been involved in the bidding of the DPWH.)
On the issue of the district engineer, Yap said he only called Belgica to verify if Ricardo has any pending cases after a friend of his asked if she can be endorsed for assignment in Benguet.
“Nung nakausap ko si Greco Belgica, tinanong ko kung may kaso ba ’to, ang sabi niya ‘meron po yan Cong. kaso at isasampa na po sa Ombudsman.’ Ang sabi ko ‘Ay ganun po ba, sige po, thank you.’ And then pagkatapos n’on wala na,” the congressman said.
(When I called Greco Belgica, I asked him if there’s a case against this Ricardo and he said ‘She has a case to be filed before the Ombudsman.’ I said ‘Is that so? Okay then, thank you.’ And then that was it, nothing else.)
‘Be responsible, investigate first’
During his online press conference, Yap then posed a question to Belgica if he verified with the Ombudsman that he indeed tried to meddle with a case involving Ricardo.
“Tumawag ka ba sa Ombudsman kung ako ay nag-follow up ng kaso ni Lorna Ricardo, kung siya ba ay nilalakad ko para ma-acquit?” he asked the PACC official.
(Did you ask the Ombudsman if I followed up on the case of Lorna Ricardo? If I tried to fix the case for her acquittal?)
“Sana ginawa niyo po ang inyong trabaho, tinawagan mo siya, ang Ombudsman, kung nilalakad ko ba ang kaso,” he added.
(I hope you did your job and called the Ombudsman if I intervened with any case.)
Yap further said that Belgica should have called up the DPWH to see if he had endorsed Ricardo to be his district engineer in Benguet or in other provinces.
“Bilang PACC, you should be responsible. Alam niyo, Sir, yung ganyang kasing papangalanan mo na, e para sakin hindi po investigation ‘yan. Ang ginawa niyo lang po nagwi-witch hunt po kayo,” he added.
(As someone from the PACC, you should be responsible. Because what you’re doing, you are releasing the names, it’s not an investigation, what you’re doing is a witch hunt.)
Yap said Belgica should have done his job and conducted a thorough investigation before submitting the list of allegedly corrupt lawmakers to the President.
“I respect the President’s decision (to bare the names), it’s in his mandate na sabihin po kung may mga allegations ng corruption, ang gusto ko lang po sanang i-point out dito e si Commissioner Belgica na sana po, siya po muna ay nag-imbestiga na muna siya ng maayos,” he said.
(I respect the President’s decision to bare these names because it’s in his mandate to make public allegations of corruption, what I want to point out, Commissioner Belgica should have conducted a proper investigation first.)
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