Former lawmaker sues anew Drilon for plunder
MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Franklin Drilon is facing another plunder charge before the Office of the Ombudsman, this time for his involvement in the allegedly anomalous purchase of a 16.2-hectare property in Iloilo seven years ago.
Former Iloilo congressman Augusto Syjuco Jr. lodged the latest criminal complaint accusing the senator and his supposed cohorts of pocketing at least P60.5 million from the transaction.
Last week, Syjuco filed a separate plunder complaint against Drilon for allegedly receiving kickbacks from the 1992 construction of the Iloilo Justice Hall wherein substandard materials and equipment were used to build a structurally weak and dangerous building.
In his latest complaint, Syjuco exposed the senator’s alleged hand in the purchase of a property in Iloilo City where residents living along the riverbanks would be relocated pursuant to the Iloilo Flood Control Project (IFCP) of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
He said the property owned by Marilyn Mirasol Inocencio was an unproductive agricultural land valued by the city assessor’s office at P2,754,030 or just P17 per square meter.
However, to boost the valuation of the property, the city assessor’s office issued a new tax declaration on Jan. 24, 2006 that changed the classification of the property from agricultural to residential, the day before it was purchased.
“These manipulations of the market value for the subject property abruptly increased artificially its selling price to P81,001,000 while the assessed value also sky-rocketed to P6,075,080.
“In a worse and surprising turn of events, the subject property that was valued at P2,754,030 only a day ago, was renegotiated for a stupendously increased amount of P63,200,000 on Jan. 25, 2006 through a Deed of Sale signed and executed a day after its market and assessed value were arbitrarily increased,” Syjuco bared.
“Apparently, the issuance of the new tax declaration was made to justify the overpricing, to the damage and prejudice of the government,” his complaint read.
Syjuco said Drilon immediately released the amount to pay the landowner a staggering P63.2 million from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF.)
Drilon slammed the latest plunder case filed against him by Syjuco as a desperate and pathetic attempt to malign him by a discredited politician.
Just like the previous plunder charge against him by Syjuco, Drilon said that the latest case was baseless since it had nothing to do with him at all.
“I had nothing to do with the purchase of the land as mentioned in the complaint of Syjuco. It was the Iloilo City government which purchased that land. I had no participation whatsoever in the purchase of that land,” Drilon said in a statement. – With Marvin Sy