A BUSINESSWOMAN has sued three officials from the Department of Energy (DOE) Visayas Field Office and a police official after they raided her firm in Carmen town, Cebu for allegedly refilling butane cannisters illegally on Jan. 16, 2022.

Shiela May Palay, also known as “Ford Zenith” and the owner of FMZ LPG Center, filed a complaint against DOE Visayas acting head and lawyer Russ Mark Gamallo and two of his subordinates, namely lawyer Barrytone Busi and Christian Kim Po; and Danao City Police Station chief Lt. Col. Fortunato Ecie Jr. and private citizens Edgar Armecin and Ronilio Laruya.

In her 12-page complaint forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, Palay sought the respondents to be charged with grave abuse of authority, opprression and gross incompetence, for violating Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; and for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Palay claimed Gamallo and his team conducted a raid on her facility without any search warrant and using the excuse that they were conducting a surprise inspection.

Palay added Gamallo and the raiding party also did not ask her permission or that of any representative of the company during their inspection inside the butane factory.

Gamallo earlier said the company was authorized to refill only Botin and Halcon, but not other brands, as stated in its business permit.

According to Palay, the butane refilling equipment was also confiscated by the group.

Palay added she was surprised why Danao City police officers accompanied the raiding party when her facility is located in Carmen.

In an interview, Gamallo said he was willing to face the charges hurled against him and his personnel.

“I will face Shiela May Palay, alias “Ford Zenith,” in any court or forum. I’m not afraid of her. I’m not afraid of any death threats, and I’m not afraid of anyone who does illegal trading of petroleum products,” Gamallo told SunStar Cebu.

Gamallo even claimed that Palay offered to bribe him several times as a way to prevent law enforcers from raiding her facility.

Gamallo said they had called Palay’s attention several times after her business reportedly committed various illegal acts, but she reportedly never complied with their demands to follow the law.