SECTIONS
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Ex-Igacos mayor sued for bribery, graft

FORMER Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) Mayor Aniano Antalan is facing charges before the Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao for accepting cash gift from a cooperative.

Antalan is facing charges for grave misconduct, three counts of indirect bribery, and two counts for violation of the Republic Act 3019 or The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Thus, Antalan was meted the accessory penalties of a perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits, cancellation of eligibility and bar from taking the civil service examination.

Records showed that a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was entered into by the local government unit, party list COOP-NATCCO and the Samal Island Multi-purpose Cooperative (SIMC) in December 2012.

The MOA pertained to the P5-million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of then party list representative Cresente Paez, of the COOP-NATCCO.

In a MOA, the local government was tasked to receive funds to be delivered to SIMC and to recommend the priority micro-finance projects and beneficiaries.

The SIMC received the P5-million funding last December 28, 2012. The Ombudsman uncovered that on the same day, SIMC gave Antalan P200,000 as cash gift.

According to the SIMC, the board authorized the release of the cash gift to Antalan as expression of gratitude to him because he is always there for the cooperative especially in approving the MOA between Igacos and the coop.

The mayor, in his counter-affidavit, did not deny that he received cash gift from the SIMC. He also admitted that he received P100,000 in 2014 and P100,000 in 2016 claiming that "the money was given during the Christmas season."

Antalan said the amounts are small or of insignificant value, hence, falling under the exception of the law.

The Ombudsman, in its resolution, said the amounts that were given in 2014 and 2016 are not of nominal or insignificant value or mere tokens of gratitude under ordinary circumstances.

It added that this manifest that the reason of the SIMC's board in giving the cash gifts was to acknowledge the help given by the accused in the approval of the MOA.

First, the MOA does not provide for such kind of funding to Antalan. Second, if the amount is really intended for such purpose, then it forms part of the public funds which should have been turned over to the city government for it to be the subject of regular accounting rules and procedures.
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