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Joy hailed before Ombudsman

Casimiro said they are confident that the cases will be exposed as tools for distraction and black propaganda

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A self-proclaimed anti-corruption group, the Task Force Kasanag led by one John Chiong, has filed a complaint for plunder and graft and corruption against Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte before the Ombudsman.

The complaint alleged that the food packs brought by the city government was grossly overpriced P108 million.

Also named respondents in the complaint were Ruby Manangu, the city’s accounting chief, and Angelica Solis, representative of the single proprietorship LXS Trading, the supplier of the food packs.

According to the complaint, the local government purchased 250,000 food packs at P1,149.90 each, or for a total of P287,475,000.

It averred that the food packs could have been obtained at no more than P715 each for P178,750,000, thus the claimed overprice of over P100 million.

In reaction, QC legal office chief Orlando Casimiro welcomed the filing of the complaint “in the proper venue and before the rightful authorities.”

“Since they followed every step of their 2010 election playbook, we knew that it was only a matter of time before some obscure group with no involvement at all to Quezon City would file plunder charges for dramatic effect,” Casimiro said.

“Recall that 11 years ago, this political camp did exactly the same thing against then-Mayor Herbert Bautista: First, they presented alleged evidence of wrongdoing to the media, then they created noise to prolong the story, and finally they ended with a plunder charge,” he added.

Casimiro said they are confident that the cases will be exposed as “tools for distraction and black propaganda.”

He said the QC government strictly adheres to all the provisions of Republic Act 9184 or the Procurement Act and that it has received the highest Commission on Audit (CoA) for the year 2020.

An accusation of overpricing was first raised by Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Michael Defensor, citing documents given him by “city hall insiders.”

Defensor was claiming a bigger overprice of P308 million for two procurements of 600,000 food packs worth P690 million.

During the time, Belmonte brushed aside Defensor’s allegation by saying, “this was recycled stuff (that’s) answered already.”

Belmonte’s office accused Defensor of engaging in a smear campaign in the runup to next year’s elections. She challenged the lawmaker to bring his concern before the CoA.

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