Biñan city mayor, vice mayor sued for plunder by businesswoman
LAGUNA, Philippines – Biñan City mayor Marlyn “Len” Alonte-Naguiat and her vice mayor Walfredo Reyes Dimaguila Jr. were sued before the Ombudsman for plunder over the allegedly anomalous purchase of a land partially owned by the mayor’s mother.
Businesswoman Adelaida Yatco filed the plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday accusing Biñan mayor and vice mayor Alonte and Dimaguila of plunder, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and breach of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Alonte and Dimaguila are members of the ruling Liberal Party. Alonte is running unopposed for the newly-created Biñan congressional district seat in the coming May polls, while Dimaguila is running for the mayoral seat Alonte would vacate.
The complainant accused Alonte of authorizing Dimaguila as acting mayor when she was out of office to purchase a property in June 2009 for the expansion of the municipal cemetery.
The land was owned by a certain Emmanuel and Alita Capinpin and co-owned by Fe Alonte, the mayor’s mother.
The complainant said the land only had a fair market value of P21.468 million but Alonte and Dimaguila paid the Capinpins P98.396 million covering 29,817 square meters in Barangay San Antonio.
The complainant accused Alonte and Dimaguila of pocketing kickbacks worth the unexplained difference of P76.92 million.
“This grossly disadvantageous contract of sale that was entered into by the respondents and the sellers was for no other reason than to get kickbacks and profit from such transaction,” according to the complaint affidavit.
The complainant also urged the Ombudsman to dismiss from service Alonte and Dimaguila for the administrative offenses of Grave Misconduct, Dishonesty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of Service over the allegedly anomalous transaction.
For her part, Alonte denied that the purchase was anomalous, adding that it was aboveboard.
She said the complaint was filed due to politics.
“Contrary to the allegations, it is not overpriced and aboveboard. The City purchased the property in 2009 at P3,015 per square meter which is the prevailing fair market value. We have certifications to attest to this,” Alonte said in a text message.
“The property is adjacent to the existing City Cemetery and will require minimal infrastructure and thus beneficial/economical. This project was intended for poor residents of Biñan since the old cemetery is already full and congested. It is a pity that a good project is being criticized for obvious political reasons,” she added.
Alonte also clarified that the land measures 29,716 square meters, not as stated in the complaint. TVJ/CDG
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