OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio-Morales indicted on Monday Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog for graft or violation of Republic Act 3019 in connection with a supposed anomalous towing deal in 2015.
Mabilog, accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of involvement in the illegal drugs, and Plaridel Nava II, a city councilor, will face trial before the Sandiganbayan.
On April 8, 2014, the city council approved a regulation ordinance incorporating the use of a wheel towing clamp as part of its towing ordinance.
On Feb. 17, 2015, the council passed a resolution giving Mabilog the green light to sign a memorandum of agreement between the local government and 3L Towing Services for the implementation of the city’s clamping ordinance.
Under the arrangement, 70 percent of the fines collected would be given to the towing
company, while the remaining 30 percent would go to the Iloilo City government.
Two weeks later or on Feb. 27, 2015, Mabilog wrote an urgent letter to councilors and informed them of the suspension of the agreement due to “some technical issues.”
On May 19, 2015, 3L proprietor Leny Garcia wrote Mabilog and offered to withdraw from the agreement “amidst the legal issues confronting it and submit to legal processes prescribed by laws on government bidding and procurement.”
As committee on transportation chairperson, Nava accused Mabilog of actually owning the towing company, and that Mabilog had direct financial interest in the agreement.
“Mabilog allegedly employed his services to perpetuate and consummate his illegitimate, immoral, dishonest and underground acts and transactions with private groups and corporate personalities doing or intending to do business in the city of Iloilo by using his power and influence as the chief executive of the city government,” the Ombudsman said, quoting Nava.
Moreover, Nava alleged Mabilog instructed him to look for someone they could trust to stand as a dummy owner, and to estimate the cost and expenditures for the proposed business venture on clamping services.
Based on the complaint, Nava regularly reported to Mabilog about the status of the business venture, and that the mayor handed him P500,000 in business capital contribution on June 16, 2014.
The Ombudsman said Mabilog also reportedly expedited the release of the business and mayor’s permits of the towing company.
“It is Nava who has pecuniary interest in 3L because it was the latter who told him about it and its intention of bidding for the towing project even defending the qualifications of 3L,” Mabilog’s counter-charge read.
“While Mabilog and Nava pointed to each other as the true owner of 3L, and thus have financial or pecuniary interest in the MoA for towing and clamping, one thing is clear from their accusations and counter-accusations—both colluded to create 3L, to get Garcia to act as its dummy owner, to have the business registered with the Department of Trade and Industry and Bureau of Internal Reveneu to secure its business and mayor’s permits, and to have it awarded the MoA with the city government without going through a competitive process,” the Ombudsman’s resolution read.
“On the part of Nava, as revealed by Mabilog, the former’s intervention was made manifest when he sponsored the wheel clamping ordinance as a supplement to the towing ordinance. Nava also sponsored the amendments to the towing ordinance allowing a private party to enter into a MoA with the city government for a term of five years without mentioning as to how the entity should be chosen. As admitted by Nava himself, it was done so with 3L in mind.”
In addition, Morales said “simply put, there was a meeting of the minds between them to do an illegal act and thus they must both suffer its consequences.”
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