The plunder case against Pamilya MKK standard bearer Monico Puentevella was filed by the Philippine Sports Commission and recommended by the Commission on Audit, Bacolod Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson said yesterday.
The case involved P50.5 million funds for the Southeast Asian Games and there was proof that Puentevella deposited the amount to his personal account, he said.
Puentevella presented a copy of the plunder case filed against Sayson and other city officials, when the latter claimed in a televised candidates’ forum over ABS-CBN Bacolod, that none had been filed against him.
Sayson said the plunder case filed against them by Sarah Esguerra involved the purchase of the Arao property in Vista Alegre, where she claimed that it should have been bought at only P15 per square meters. I do not know where they can find such a price, he said.
Sayson said Esguerra was cheering for Puentevella at the candidates’ forum, and it has always been her and Victor Eduardo, who have been filing cases against city officials, from 2004 up to the present.
He said the loan secured by the city to purchase the Arao property was given to the owner of the land for the city’s relocation site. No proceeds of the loan went to a private account, he added.
Sayson said the cases filed against him were politically-motivated. That is why he does not consider them serious, he added.
Of the many cases filed against them by Esguerra and Eduardo, 15 have already been dismissed, he said.
There is even a case involving gasoline withdrawn by different departments of the city but he does not know if his name was included, Sayson said.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia said these plunder charges are the offshoot of the plunder case filed against Puentevella by PSC commissioner Harry Ongpin after the COA rendered an adverse report. “Because it was big news, they filed a plunder case against us,” he said.
The charges against them are politically motivated, while the city had nothing to do with the plunder case filed by Ongpin against Puentevella that was supported by Audit documents, Leonardia said. It was a natural consequence of what happened to him, he said.
Leonardia said it is clear they are always using the Ombudsman in their propaganda. He said most cases filed are malicious and politically-motivated, and the filing increases when election time draws near.
There is a big distinction between the plunder case Puentevella is facing and the ones they are facing, Leonardia said. The Ombudsman knows about this, that is why most of the cases filed against them had been dismissed, he said.*CGS.