MP whistle blower faces libel
By ACE ALEGRE
BONTOC, Mountain Province — Corruption and alleged poll violation “whistle blower” Salvador Liked who earlier rapped Mt. Province Congressman Maximo Dalog Sr before the Comelec is facing libel for allegedly imputing upon the congressman “serious crimes and offenses” and reportedly portraying him as a “corrupt public official.”
Already set for preliminary investigation, Rep. Dalog claimed at the provincial prosecutor’s office in Mt. Province that Liked in his letter to then DILG Sec. Ronaldo Puno caused “damage and prejudice” during the recent election period.
Liked in his letter to Puno requested for an investigation on alleged land-grabbing and corruption committed by Dalog, then Mt. Province governor.
Said letter furnished to the public, alleged use of public funds for the planting of bugnay trees in a lot purportedly owned by Dalog.
The said lot measuring 1,000 square meters located at Cagubatan, Tadian is the subject lot of a memorandum of agreement entered into between the provincial government and Atty Maximo Dalog Sr as the owner of said lot.
In said agreement approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Mountain Province in 2007, Dalog allowed the provincial LGU to utilize the said lot as a “demo farm inclusive of an access road and parking space and for other scientific research activities of the province.”
Said lot was secured via an extra judicial settlement of estate with simultaneous deed of sale. Liked in turn said he will face the charges against him as he said he will also pursue his complaint before the Comelec.
“Poll Violations, Corruption Probe”
This as Liked has all reasons to be in jubilation as Comelec Law department chief Eduardo Rafanan has ordered Comelec-Cordillera to immediately conduct a preliminary investigation on alleged poll-related violations of Rep. Dalog.
This after Rafanan acted on complaints of alleged acts of fraud, corruption, vote buying and early campaigning in violation of election laws by Bauko town, Mountain Province resident Salvador Liked whose complaint filed on May 21 called for sanctions against Rep. Dalog, who accordingly violated election laws as early as late quarter of 2009 (when he was Mt. Province governor) and allegedly used government funds to purchase materials to woo votes.
“I hope that this time Comelec will do justice to (my complaint),” Liked, a former provincial government employee said as he is pinning high hopes that with President Benigno Aquino III at the command of the Comelec, complaints like his will be acted on “unlike before”. “This will be a test case for the political will of this administration,” he added.
Dalog, a close ally of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, won over his three rivals, the closest of whom was former Sabangan mayor Jupiter Dominguez with only 751, former Bontoc Mayor Frank Odsey and former Presidential Assistant Thomas Killip.
Mt. Province has around 110,000 voters.
Liked claimed in his complaint that Dalog caused the printing of hand wash soaps showing his face and name, a project of the Department of Education, during the election campaign period.
Liked also alleged that Dalog, with funds from the government caused the printing of streamers showing his face and name; and also caused the purchase of canvass tents with acronyms “Maximize Benefits of Development” (MBD) which accordingly are initials of Governor Maximo B. Dalog.
From December 2009 to April 2010, Rep. Dalog allegedly caused the printing and purchase of T-shirts for senior citizens and barangay Day Care and health workers, using government funds.
Liked said that the price of each T-shirt showing the governor’s face, was purchased at P450.00 each, although canvassed T-shirts are priced at P130, P120, P145, and P140 each.Liked also alleged that in February to April 2010, Dalog caused the purchase using gov’t funds and distribution of monoblock chairs bearing his surname.
Such acts, “To purchase, manufacture, distribute or accept electoral propaganda gadgets such as pens, lighters fans of whatever nature , flashlights, athletic goods, or materials wallets, shirts, hats, hats, bandanas, matches, cigarettes, and the like……” are banned under election laws.
Under Article 12, Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code, vote buying constitutes the act of giving, offering, or promising money or anything of value, including promises of “employment, franchise or grant, public or private.”
Vote-buying also involves making or offering to incur expenses that will, directly or indirectly, benefit a person, association, corporation, entity, or community “to induce anyone or the public in general to vote for or against any candidate or withhold his vote in the election, or to vote for or against any aspirant for the nomination or choice of a candidate in a convention or similar selection process of a political party.”
“Comelec-CAR Tasked Initial Probe”
In Comelec Law Dept. memorandum number 10-3135, Rafanan ordered Comelec-CAR regional director Julius Torres to investigate Liked’s complaint versus Dalog and to “terminate the same within 20 days after receipt of the counter-affidavits and other evidence of respondents.” He also ordered Dir. Torres to render a resolution within five days after.
Rafanan in his memorandum on June 21 to Comelec-CAR also expects the latter to forward the records of the case to him within five days after they have made a resolution on their preliminary investigation.But according to Torres, he has not received Dir. Rafanan’s order, hence suspending his comment.
Rep. Dalog simply said he “was not notified officially of the complaint,” opting to keep mum while he has not received any copy of the charges filed by Liked. # nordis.net