In a resolution passed Tuesday, the City Council requested the National Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao to conduct independent probes on the alleged scam.
Photocopies of billing statements and cash vouchers were distributed to city councilors by an unknown source since last week. The photocopied vouchers showed that each of the five councilors named, allegedly received P30,000 each.
Named were Nilo Abelera, Victorio Advincula, Diosdado Angelo Mahipus, Bonifacio Militar, and Jesus Zozobrado. It was Zozobrado who first complained against the allegation when confronted by a radio reporter.
In their privilege speeches that extended around two hours into the session, the councilors denied the reports and cried foul for the "demolition jobs" against them.
The cash vouchers, photocopies of which were furnished to reporters by Abellera, purported that the amount was paid to "Councilor Susumbrano", "Councilor Advincola", "Councilor Militar", "Councilor Mahipos", and an "Abelera".
The money was allegedly released to the councilors as "PR fund for the making of a City Ordinance". There was also an alleged voucher to record expenses for media people, including newspaper and television personnel.
In his four-page privilege speech, said the vouchers are "not reliable or worthy of belief". He said the documents are all machine-copied, which are not admissible as evidence in any proceeding.
He alleged that the photocopies of the billings and vouchers showed that money went to its maker, a certain Rameshi Purswani. He said the documents are all "manufactured".
Purswani reportedly owns Davao Rosewood Enterprises and co-owns Metro Davao Transport Terminal near SM City. He could not be reached for comment.
Mahipus said it is obvious the documents were fabricated to malign the legislators.
Abellera demand an apology from an ABS-CBN radio anchor for his alleged irresponsible and malicious treatment of the issue Tuesday morning.
He said the integrity of the council was dragged so the culprits should be identified. He opposed a proposal for the city council to investigate. He said the council will be partial considering five of the 26 councilors were named in the scam.
"Given the gravity of the allegation and the impact it has on the city council and the other members of the august chamber, the need to go to the bottom of the case and ferret out the truth has become an indispensable aspect of redeeming the image of the council, such that there is a need for independent moves on the scandal," Abellera said in the resolution. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)