Doubts fill City Hall over ‘transferred’ boxes

DOUBTS have filled the Cagayan de Oro City Hall after three of its workers allegedly transferred boxes from the city finance storage to the acting budget officer’s office.

Lawyer Jonathan Pacuribot, one of the legal counsels of Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno who seeks the mayoralty post in the city, cried foul over the suspicious transfer of four boxes from the city finance storage to the office of Criselda Joson, the acting budget officer, without clearance from the office of the City Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday afternoon.

Pacuribot told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that the Liberal Party’s (LP) watcher at the City Treasurer’s Office, Junamon Montero, called the attention of Team Oca after he allegedly saw three City Hall employees moved the four mysterious boxes.

The boxes came from the city finance storage, which stores the May 2013 election paraphernalia, including indelible inks, documents and precinct count optical scan (PCOS) seals, while the ballot boxes are stored at the one-stop shop office of the Finance department.

Montero trailed the employees who were bringing the boxes that ended at Joson’s office.

Pacuribot rushed to the City Hall upon learning about the incident to verify that the boxes don’t contain election related materials.

Pacuribot showed a video from his cell phone in which the boxes could be seen placed on top of Joson’s table.

The video showed sealed boxes in which contents baffle Team Oca.

In the video, Joson told Pacuribot that the contents are her personal belongings.

Pacuribot prodded Joson to open the boxes in the spirit of transparency, but she declined to open them.

Cagayan de Oro City Vice-mayor Ian Acenas told Pacuribot that the office is already closed and that business transactions for the day were over.

Montero failed to get the names of the employees who moved the boxes while Pacuribot tried to get City Comelec Officer lawyer Palmer Palamine to check on the boxes inside Joson’s office.

Pacuribot explained that he couldn’t compel Joson to open the box since he didn’t have the authority over the boxes.

Vigil

Volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the National Citizen’s Movement For Free Election (Namfrel) have started to hold vigil outside City Hall on Monday night to guard and ensure that switching of boxes couldn’t happen.

Montero swore he could identify the employees since he has often seen them wearing Comelec IDs, but he noticed they weren’t wearing the Comelec IDs when the incident happened.

Pacuribot said Palamine advised him to file a formal complaint at the Comelec office and an inventory of items stored at the city finance storage will be conducted today, Tuesday.

Pacuribot said he only wants protect the integrity of the election paraphernalia.
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