A politically motivated move-A A +A
By DP Limlingan
Friday, February 15, 2013
THE recent filing of charges against former Minalin Mayor Edgardo Flores by the incumbent Arturo “Katoy” Naguit is seen by many as tainted with political color, considering the (bad) timing of the filing.
Mayor Naguit filed the charges against his predecessor Flores before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged violations of Articles 213 and 217 of the Revised Penal Code and some provisions of Republic Acts 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees).
The complaint stemmed from the alleged unauthorized acceptance of Flores of parcels of lot that were then used to construct a supposed evacuation center that turned out to be a multi-purpose center.
Mayor Naguit assails that Flores has never been authorized by the town’s Sanggunian to accept such donations. He added that because of the alleged fraudulent and prejudicial transaction, the government allegedly suffered damages and undue injury since the center was constructed on private properties.
The timing is questionable. Mayor Naguit officially became the town’s chief executive on June 30, 2010 and has filed the said charges only now, during the election season. The respondent in the case is his challenger, thus we cannot avoid people’s minds to impute that the filing of charges against Flores is motivated by politics. Some Minaleños say that the incumbent is lagging behind surveys.
On the allegation that the construction of the facility should have been an evacuation center and not a multi-purpose center as it appeared to be what it is now. I see some semantics and practicality here. While it was intended to become an evacuation center, it’s not the whole year round that there are evacuees. For practicality’s sake, the same can be used for other purposes aside from being a shelter for evacuees especially during floodings and typhoons.
A multi-purpose center can always be an evacuation center. Whatever we call it doesn’t matter as long as the public can benefit from it as a government project.
On the issue that Flores was never authorized by the Sangguniang Bayan for him to accept donations has no bearing, either since Mayor Naguit is likewise receiving donations sans authorization from the local legislative body. Accusing Flores of having no authority to accept is tantamount to accusing one’s self as in the case of the accusing Mayor Naguit.
The sitting mayor has alleged that the government has suffered damages and undue injury because the center was constructed on private properties.
Assuming but not granting that it is that way, then logic tells so that the government has gained from the fact that it use private lands for its evacuation center project. It would be a different story if the owners of the private lands will be the ones who will be filing cases against Flores.
The real score is that the parcels of lands were donated to the municipality. This fact is supported by the imposed condition of the donors that the evacuation center should be named after Francisco Flores Sr., another former mayor of Minalin. The other Flores is the father of the respondent, be that as it may, there seems to be nothing wrong in naming the center after the older Flores. The latter is a former mayor too of the town.
Flores meanwhile branded the allegations of Mayor Naguit as a concoction of lies, frivolous, non-sense, misleading and are politically motivated. Some critics cannot help but think that the case was filed because it might perhaps gain attention due to the fact that we are now in the election season, to the detriment of Flores’s candidacy.
The filing of charges against Flores on the other hand might even benefit him as this will surely solicit sympathy votes in his favor since the people of Minalin do really know what the real story is behind the questioned multi-purpose center. People are not that stupid to believe make-believe stories. Flores was right. Mayor Naguit’s lawyer was misled.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 15, 2013.