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Iloilo mayor faces graft case for towing service

/ 12:03 AM September 21, 2015

ILOILO CITY—A city councilor and former ally of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog has filed a graft complaint against the mayor for entering into a joint-venture agreement with a company the mayor is allegedly a part-owner of.

Councilor Plaridel Nava claimed in his five-page complaint that Mabilog violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act when the mayor entered an agreement with 3L Towing Services on Feb. 20 to implement the city’s clamping ordinance against illegally parked vehicles.

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Mabilog was part-owner of the towing company, he said.

Mabilog denied Nava’s allegations.

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“It doesn’t make sense (that) I am accused of owning a company when I as mayor stopped and did not allow the same company to operate and do business with the city government even when the city ordinance and the legal opinion of the city legal officer allows the same company to operate,” the mayor said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

“There is no anomalous transaction … The supposed contract was withdrawn by the supposed owner. There is no transaction with the government. Not even once. Clamping is now done by the administration (of) the government. What is the problem?” Mabilog asked.

He said his decision was “to protect and serve the interest of the Ilonggo folk on what is legal and what is moral.”

Nava, chair of the council’s committee on transportation, said he had pushed for the implementation of the city’s ordinance which he authored against on-road parking which was identified as among the leading causes of traffic congestion.

He said in his complaint that Mabilog pushed for the creation of a private company that would supply and provide tire clamping services under a public-private partnership scheme.

“(Mabilog) then instructed me to look for someone he could trust to be the company’s dummy and at the same time to make estimates of cost and expenditures for the proposed business venture,” according to Nava.

Nava said he tapped their common friend Leny Garcia to be the nominal head of the company but who opted to be a business partner.

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3L Towing Services subsequently was registered with the Department of Trade and Industry and Bureau of Internal Revenue with Garcia as sole proprietor.

Nava alleged that on June 16, 2014, Mabilog turned over P500,000 in cash as his contribution in setting up the company.

“Mabilog assumed responsibility in expediting the release of business and mayor’s permits,” Nava said in his complaint.

Under the 10-year agreement, 3L Towing Services will provide clamping services under a revenue-sharing scheme of 70-30 percent for the first five years and 65-35 percent for the next five years in favor of the private company.

After the agreement was confirmed and ratified by the city council, Mabilog subsequently announced that he was “withdrawing” his signature from the agreement claiming he was not properly advised on its contents.

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TAGS: Graft, Iloilo City, Jed Patrick Mabilog, Regions, Towing Service
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