Daanbantayan mayor sued for 'lack of aid'

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

CEBU CITY -- Ten of the 20 barangay captains of Daanbantayan, Cebu filed complaints against Mayor Augusto Corro before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for allegedly refusing to give them relief goods because they were allied with the previous administration.

In filing the criminal and administrative complaints, they also asked the anti-graft office to investigate Corro and place him under preventive suspension.

Ten residents, who described themselves as victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), filed separate criminal and administrative complaints against Mayor Corro, Vice Mayor Gilbert Arrabis and three councilors reportedly allied with the mayor -- Chona de Leon, Juanito Ybañez and Manny Benatiro.


Mayor Corro declined to comment until he receives his copy of the complaints filed by the 10 barangay captains and 10 town residents against him before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.


Corro said he was not aware of the cases.

“Ila ra gyud pagsamok-samok sa akoa (These people just want to distract me from doing my job),” Corro said.

The 10 village chiefs said that Corro violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act 6713) and the Revised Penal Code.

They said they noticed that typhoon survivors allied with the mayor were given priority in the distribution of relief goods, while those identified with the previous administration have not received anything at all.

“As punong barangays (barangay captains), we were not given due aid from the Office of the Mayor like tarpaulins, basic relief goods and galvanized iron sheets from the National Government, most likely because we are also known to be identified with the previous mayor,” read the joint complaint addressed to Deputy Ombudsman Pelagio Apostol.

“It was only after some time that we only received one-time repacked relief goods from DSWD (the Department of Social Welfare and Development) containing three kilos of rice, six (cans of) sardines, six (cans of) beef loaf and six (packs of) noodles,” the chiefs said.


The chiefs who signed the complaint last March 27 are Leticia Perpetua of Barangay Pajo, Francisco Rosalejos of Barangay Malingin, Pablo Arsenal Jr. of Barangay Tinubdan, Heminia Castro of Barangay Calape, Isidro Rodrigo of Barangay Tominjao, Ali Abucay of Barangay Maya, Zenaida Arriesgado of Barangay Agujo, Rex Novabos of Logon, Ramon Camino of Carnaza, and Remedios Layos of Lanao.

They accused Mayor Corro of grave abuse of authority, conduct unbecoming of a government official, dishonesty, and discrimination by reason of party affiliation or preference.

They added that Corro used the relief goods to entice them to join his political party and to vote for barangay captain Bernardito Luche Jr., whom they identified as his candidate for Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) president.

If Luche would not win, they said, the mayor warned them: “Mag-puasa mo (You will end up fasting).”

When Luche lost, they alleged in their complaint, Corro made good his threat and refused to give them assistance, even though plenty of relief goods “were left rotting in the municipal gymnasium.”

Promises, promises

A separate complaint was filed by 10 residents of Sitio Backyard, Barangay Poblacion in Daanbantayan. (The sitio, they told the ombudsman, is located behind the house of the former mayor.)

“All that was given to us were false promises and assurances that we will ultimately receive aid from the municipality through the P6-million calamity fund of Daanbantayan,” the resident-complainants said.

They are Linda Coyoca, Cherry Burlas, Leake Ronald Eduard Jr., Hedeliza Rondina, Leonora Calipay, Marilyn Rondina, Florencia Rodrigo, Jocelyn Rondina, Geraldine Calipay and Mercedita Almocera.

The residents, in their complaint, said that they first went to the Municipal Council last March 14, but their grievance “was not given due course.”

They reported that Councilor Rex Novabos suggested that if the G.I. sheets intended for typhoon survivors were not enough, the council can allocate part of the town’s calamity funds to cover the shortfall.

Councilor Bridgette Tancawan, they also said, requested through a resolution that the list of donors of cash and other assistance “be made public but this was strongly rebuffed by those councilors allied with the mayor.” (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 31, 2014.

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