Councilors welcome probe on 'send-off gift'-A A +A
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
SOME Davao City councilors welcome the ongoing investigation of the Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao on alleged "pabaon" (send-off gift) given by the Aboitiz Power Corporation to some councilors.
Councilor Melchor Quitain, chair of the City Council committee on ethics, earlier said the Ombudsman is the authorized agency to conduct the probe.
Quitain said the committee cannot do a separate investigation on the matter to avoid biases.
Quitain was among the few councilors who did not join the Aboitiz-sponsored trip to Misamis Oriental.
Councilor Pilar Braga and Nonong Cabling, in separate interviews, told Sun.Star Davao that they will cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
Braga, who joined the first batch of councilors who visited Steag in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, denied receiving cash gift from Aboitiz.
While Cabling admitted to receiving P6,000 cash, he was quick to add that it was intended to cover his travel expenses together with his staff.
Councilor Emanuel Galicia, council floor leader, also admitted receiving cash gift but said some of his colleagues also received cash, though he can no longer recall the amount and the names.
Lawyer Rodolfo Elman, assistant Ombudsman for Mindanao, told Sun.Star Davao that their investigators are now on the fact-finding phase and collecting evidence.
Elman said the main objective of their investigation is to find out if there is probable violation on the part of councilors to accept any form of gift either directly or indirectly from the Aboitiz firm.
Elman said they may file criminal or administrative cases against those councilors who have possibly violated the Code of Conducts of Public Officials and Employees and the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 31, 2011.