Three project contractors of the municipal government of Mexico, Pampanga have been subpoenaed to appear before an inquiry of the House Committee on Public Accounts.
The committee, chaired by Abang Lingkod Party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano, issued the subpoenas on Wednesday, Aug. 16 on suppliers Aedy Tai Yang, Rizalito Dizon, and Roberto Tugade.
Paduano’s panel is looking into the P149-million supposed anomalous deals entered into by Mexico town under Mayor Teddy Tumang.
It was during the continuation of the panel investigation Tuesday, Aug. 15 when Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel moved to subpoena the trio.
A subpoena is basically a strong-worded invite that solons send out to show that they mean business. Needless to say, the House members are expecting the three individuals to appear in the next hearing.
So bent is Paduano on having the there people over that he has asked the provincial command of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Pampanga to help locate the them. Yang, Dizon and Tugade have consistently skipped the committee hearings despite repeated invitations from solons.
Dizon and Tugade are equipment and medicine suppliers. In Yang’s case, the committee learned that he had sold a one-hectare lot to the Mexico municipal government for P29.5 million, or P2,950 per square meter.
In a letter to Paduano dated Aug. 2, Yang said he could not attend the inquiry scheduled that day due to “previous commitments”.
“Rest assured, if my presence is required in succeeding committee hearings, I am more willing to attend the same,” he said. Yang was a no-show during Tuesday’s hearing.
Yang’s lot, along with another 1.8-hectare parcel owned by couple Arnel and Sonia Pangilinan, was supposed to be the site of the new municipal town hall and convention center in Barangay San Antonio.
The Pangilinans sold their property to Mexico for P2,800 per square meter, for a total of a little over P50 million.
During the hearing, Sagip Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta raised the “questionable circumstances” under which Yang and the Pangilinan couple bought their lots from farmers in Barangay San Antonio and sold them to the Mexico municipal government just six months later for a huge profit.
Marcoleta said Yang and the Pangilinans acquired their lots on the same day, July 11, 2022.
He said the deeds of absolute sale of the buyers were notarized by the same lawyer, and the lot titles of the former owners were cancelled by the Register of Deeds on the same day.
“Two days later, the Register of Deeds issued new titles to Mr. Yang and the Pangilinan couple. Ang lakas niyo sa Register of Deeds (You must know the Register of Deeds very well),” he said sarcastically.
Marcoleta stressed that the confluence and timing of events relating to the purchase by Yang and the Pangilinan couple of their lots in San Antonio and their sale to the municipal government were highly suspicious.
He also said Mayor Tumang should have used the municipal government’s option to acquire the lots through expropriation.
“Since these were purchased for P300 per square meter, you could have offered P500 and saved your town about P65 million. The sellers would have had no choice but to sell because it is the right of government to resort to expropriation in case of a badly needed property,” he said.
Tumang replied that he was not aware that expropriation was available in procuring land for a town hall and convention center, though he knew that this option could be used in the case of road projects.
After auditing the P149-million worth of allegedly anomalous deals, the Commission on Audit (COA) has disallowed P82 million, of which Mayor Tumang has personally reimbursed P43 million.
Some P39 million has not been returned, prompting the COA to forward its fraud audit report to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Source : MB