Councilor grilled on Athletic Bowl ‘bribe’-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Thursday, September 13, 2012
THE Baguio City councilors urged a fellow to reveal the identity of the person who allegedly bribed a councilor in relation with the proposed development of the Baguio Athletic Bowl.
The allegations were revealed by Councilor Edison Bilog himself during a privilege speech Monday.
Bilog opposed the proposed Terms of Reference (TOR) for the development of the Baguio Athletic Bowl.
Councilors continued grilling Bilog on the bribery attempt, pressing him to reveal the identity of the supposed culprit but to no avail.
“I know that I cannot be coerced into revealing the identity of the person even by this august body but I will tell you that this happened at the Baguio Convention Center,” Bilog said.
In his speech, the councilor alleged that the proposal of a Filipino-Korean investor for a “Build Operate and Transfer scheme to develop the sports hub” is already a “done deal.”
The revelation, which stemmed from Councilor Elmer Datuin’s question as to why Bilog excluded in his speech the bribery attempt, irked several councilors on Monday.
The councilors claimed that Bilog’s statements insinuate that they have been bribed as well.
Several councilors, including Vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas panned Bilog’s speech, saying his statements seemed to have overstepped their rights to comment and scrutinize the proposed TOR submitted to the body.
The City Council has yet to discuss the TOR submitted by Mayor Mauricio Domogan and the Council Committee on Laws has yet to study the proposal.
Committee on Laws chairman Councilor Richard Cariño pointed out that the TOR will undergo due process before it could even be called a “done deal.”
“Projects of this magnitude must undergo public consultations and must be studied by City Development Council and approved by the Regional Development Council and the National Economic Development Authority among other agencies,” Cariño said.
This even after the councilor said filing a case against the supposed perpetrator will prove futile since the elements of bribery are not complete.
Bilog, however, promised to submit an affidavit detailing the incident.
On Wednesday, the councilor filed an administrative complaint and criminal charges of corruption of a public official against City Tourism Officer Benedicto Alhambra at the City Prosecutor’s Office whom he alleged tried to bribe him to approve the Athletic Bowl development TOR.
Meanwhile, Councilor Philian Louise Weygan-Allan said the Council Committee on Ethics will no longer hear Bilog’s charges against Alhambra after cases were filed in court.
She, however, said the committee will forward its findings to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 13, 2012.