A PRO-ADMINISTRATION member of Cagayan de Oro City Council called for a lifestyle check on an opposition-allied barangay official over the weekend, accusing the latter of amassing questionable wealth.
Councilor Alexander Dacer’s latest round of allegations against Barangay Gusa Chairperson Enrico D. Salcedo came amid a bitter dispute triggered by City Hall’s removal of the sub-urban village’s shares in tool fees.
Dacer called on the Ombudsman to investigate Salcedo’s properties, saying these could have been illegally amassed.
“He (Salcedo) can’t explain his wealth, and I believe there is enough reason for the Ombudsman to investigate,” Dacer told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
Salcedo, a known supporter of defeated mayoralty candidate Rolando Uy, countered that his properties have always been open for public scrutiny, and challenged Dacer and other administration officials to also undergo “voluntary lifestyle check.”
Dacer said Salcedo should explain how he obtained a "big house" in San Pedro St., Barangay Gusa, heavy equipment and apartment rental businesses and three passenger jeepneys.
“To maintain these properties and businesses, you must have some abundant source of cash,” Dacer said.
“But how could he (Salcedo) have obtained all these when he derives his income chiefly from his salary as a barangay official, and his wife is only an employee in Mitsubishi,” the councilor added.
Dacer said a number of Salcedo’s own constituents have expressed desire to file charges in the Ombudsman.
Salcedo said he will welcome all charges filed against him. The barangay official described Dacer’s allegations as “baseless.”
“I admit I have properties, but I earned all these through hard work,” he said, adding that “unlike other public officials who depend on government coffers, most of my properties are inheritance from my parents.”
“What’s to steal from the barangay when it could even barely afford medicines for ailing residents?” Salcedo said. Salcedo agreed with Dacer’s call for lifestyle check, but said it should be done “across the board.”
“Let all local officials be investigated. Let’s find out how some philandering public officials get to finance their second family; how they got their cars, their houses and their extra cash,” Salcedo said.
He said the pending corruption cases against Emano and other administration officials in the Ombudsman should also be brought to light.
The probe must also cover the alleged anomalies inside the Association of Barangay Councils when Dacer was still president, Salcedo said.
Dacer had earlier been accused by Salcedo of misusing the ABC funds, an allegation the councilor has repeatedly denied.
Salcedo and Dacer have been trading barbs since the barangay official left the PaDayon political group of Mayor Vicente Y. Emano. He supported Uy, who lost by just over two thousand votes.
Their longstanding quarrel resumed anew when Dacer and his colleagues in the majority block voted to remove Barangay Gusa's share in the toll fees collected from the Eastbound Terminal.
"The administration of President Aquino promised change through transparency. By all means all local officials, including me, should be investigated so that the corrupt elements in the city can finally be flushed out," Dacer said. (Nicole J. Managbanag)