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Puentevella maligning Ombudsman, Sandiganbayan

12:04 AM November 17, 2015

THIS IS a reaction to the news story titled “Why pick on us? Suspended mayor asks Ombudsman” (News, 11/13/15). Mayor Monico Puentevella would make it appear that the case against him for graft, in connection with a P26-million purchase of computers, is politically-motivated and is my handiwork.

Mayor Puentevella should face the music and stop deceiving the people.

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He bought computers for P400,000 each, using the people’s money, and now that he is being called to account for it, he comes up with all sorts of excuses and scenarios. Worse, he drags my name into his mess.

The truth is, the case was filed by the Ombudsman after investigating a complaint from the late lawyer Alan Zamora. I did not start the investigation into this outrageous transaction, neither did I ask Zamora to file the case. It was his initiative as he believed in the strong merits of the evidence. The records will bear me out on this.

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Why can’t Puentevella just accept the fact that the graft case filed against him is strong, so strong that the Sandiganbayan has now ordered his suspension?

Puentevella also said the case had languished for seven years already and had gathered dust and should have been dismissed. If it took this long for justice to move, it’s because Puentevella himself tried to delay it by legal and nonlegal maneuverings.

Remember at one time he even pretended to be sick just to delay his arraignment.

He buys computers at outrageous prices, and tries to dodge the arm of the law with all sorts of maneuverings, and now that he finds himself in hot water, he cries injustice.

To claim that all this is for my political purposes is to malign the Ombudsman that filed the case against him, and the Sandiganbayan that ordered his suspension. Clearly, no one can influence the Ombudsman or the Sandiganbayan.

If this case was filed in 2007, how could we have known that we would end up as opponents in the 2016 elections? And he complains that no congressman has been administratively charged by the Ombudsman. Doesn’t he know that congressmen are exclusively under the House committee on ethics administratively? And come to think about it, he was a congressman for nine long years!

On Puentevella’s claims that I am facing at least six plunder cases and 20 other graft-related complaints, but the Ombudsman had failed to act on them, I challenge Puentevella to cite the cases.

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I know Puentevella’s minions have filed 55 cases against me, and almost all have been dismissed at the investigation stage. The alleged plunder cases against me are mere concoctions meant to make it appear that I also have plunder cases like him.

But in his plunder case, it was the Philippine Sports Commission itself, on the basis of Commission on Audit findings, which filed against Puentevella for depositing the P50.5 million Southeast Asian Games funds in his personal account.

—REP. EVELIO LEONARDIA, Bacolod City

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TAGS: Monico Puentevella, news, Philippine graft and corruption, Sandiganbayan
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