Cebu province’s ‘Mayor Duterte’ sued by driver for corruption

JUL 22, 2021 7:20 PM PHTLORRAINE ECARMA

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https://www.rappler.com/nation/cebu-province-zigfred-duterte-sued-by-driver-corruption

The former personal driver of the mayor of Tabogon town in Cebu province, Mayor Zigfred Duterte, filed a complaint of abuse of authority at the Ombudsman–Visayas against his erstwhile boss.

In his complaint filed on July 14 and was made public on July 21, Regie L. Ornopia accused Duterte of corruption, claiming his salary as personal driver and the fuel for the vehicle he was assigned to drive were paid using government funds.

Ornopia said in his complaint that Duterte violated Section 3 of the Anti-Corrupt Practices Act.

“I am filing this complaint against Mayor Duterte because as Municipal Mayor, he gravely abused his authority using his position as Municipal Mayor of Tabogon to enrich himself to the damage and prejudice of the people of the Municipality of Tabogon, Cebu,” Ornopia said in his affidavit.   

Tabogon is a third class municipality in Cebu province, 86 kilometers south of Cebu City.

In his sworn affidavit, Ornopia said he was the mayor’s former personal driver. He said  he was first assigned to drive Duterte’s child to and from school. He was also tasked to take the mayor’s wife around for personal errands in 2013.

During this time he was ferrying the mayor’s family members for private affairs, Ornopia said he was under the payroll of the Tabogon local government unit.

Ornopia said he was later transferred to operating a dump truck under Duterte’s limestone hauling and quarrying business in 2014. Even at that point, he said his salary was still being paid for by the local government.

This was setup until he resigned after he was accused by Duterte of “illicitly selling limestone to his customers.”

“Despite working with the Mayor’s privately owned limestone hauling and quarrying business in Tabogon, Cebu, I am still under the payroll of the Municipality of Tabogon, Cebu and receiving my salary from the Municipality of Tabogon, Cebu,” he said.

He said not only did the municipal government pay for his salary but also for the fuel used up by the dump truck.

Ornopia said he had a gas voucher with the plate number of one of the municipality’s old dump trucks. He said he would present this to a gas station contracted by the local government under a credit basis whenever he needed to refuel.

The former driver enumerated four quarry sites: one near a national high school, one in Brgy. Tapul, one in Brgy. Canao-canao, and the site where the municipal hospital stands.

In a phone interview on Wednesday, July 21, the Tabogon mayor denied all allegations of corruption, saying it was about half a decade since Ornopia worked for him as his personal driver.

Og ako lang ana, considering padung na ang filing unya init-init man gud gamay among politika dire sa Tabogon, akong paniid ani, naay politika behind all of that. Kay ngano karon ra man na?” he said.

(Personally, considering the proximity of the official filing season for the elections and that politics here is quite hot, I suspect there’s political motivation behind that. Because why did it only come out now?)

He said he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint and refused to comment further. – Rappler.com

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