Ex-Ecija mayor, 11 others charged over P102-M deal

>> Monday, December 12, 2016

By Manny Galvez

SAN ANTONIO, Nueva Ecija – This town’s former mayor has been charged along with 11 others in connection with the allegedly anomalous government projects amounting to P102 million.
Former mayor Antonino Lustre and the respondents were charged with plunder, three counts of malversation and seven counts of violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Aside from Lustre, named respondents were bids and awards committee chairman Renato Bustamante; BAC members Julito Galang, Daisy Pili, Mercy Reyes and Constancia Salonga; engineers Eloy Castillo, Michael Galang and Roberto Odulio; civilians Julito Semacio and his wife Maritta Semacio, and Pedro Perez of private firm Papisss Inc.
The charges stemmed from a complaint filed with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon by Mayor Arvin Salonga, Lustre’s political rival.
Salonga defeated Lustre in the May elections by a margin of 200 votes. He said the allegedly anomalous transactions entered into by the previous administration was discovered when he assumed office on June 30.
Salonga said these transactions included the construction of a P52-million commercial building and a P45-million slaughterhouse and the purchase of agricultural land worth P5 million.
The projects were reportedly not specified in the annual budget and the respondents rigged the bidding to favor Papisss Inc.
The complaint stated the projects were not authorized by the municipal council and the invitation to bid for them was posted on a local newspaper instead on the Philgeps or the municipal website.


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