THE Cebu Provincial Board (PB) dismissed the complaint for grave abuse of authority against Mayor Elanito Peña of Minglanilla, Cebu and other town officials for allegedly collecting “goodwill money” from public market vendors.
In his report, PB Member Raul Bacaltos cited lack of merit for the dismissal of the complaint.
Sought for comment, Peña said he was happy about the dismissal of the complaint.
Seven people led by Sherbie Delos Reyes filed the complaint against Peña, Vice Mayor Robert John Selma and five others for allegedly forcing them to pay P25,000 to P45,000 to secure stalls in the new Minglanilla Public Market in 2015.
Aside from Delos Reyes, the other complainants are public market vendors Veronica Quintana, Gregory Anthony Quintana, Marshalie Pactol Libre, Amalia Juarez Mejasco, Alan Bastida and Joey Edgar Camota.
The complainants claimed that Peña and the other respondents committed grave abuse of authority, gross misconduct, dereliction of duty and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practice Act for collecting “goodwill money” from vendors who wish to acquire stalls inside the new public market.
The collection of fees was reportedly done despite the absence of an ordinance.
In their response, Peña and the other respondents denied the allegation. The respondents said that the “goodwill money” was voluntarily given by the vendors, and this was supported by official receipts.
Bacaltos, who chairs the committee on complaints and investigation, said his committee did not find evidence to indicate that the respondents committed any violations. Also, Bacaltos said that the money provided by the vendors to the respondents had no “iota of corruption” based on the official receipts issued by the respondents. (JKV)