Whistle blower urges Pacquiao to drop convicted ‘grafter’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 October) — Former Sarangani employee Mary Ann Gadian, who blew the lid on the multimillion fund scam in the province in 2003, yesterday sought the disqualification of Provincial Board Member Eugene Alzate who was convicted by the Sandiganbayan for reportedly pocketing P300,000 from the congressional development fund (CDF) of former congressman Erwin Chiongbian.

Gadian, a computer encoder in the office of the late Vice Gov. Felipe Constantino, said Alzate does not deserve to serve another term after his conviction.

The whistleblower said she does not want all the sacrifices and the hardships she underwent come to naught if Alzate will remain in office.

Alzate called the disqualification case a political harassment.

He has filed a motion for reconsideration of his conviction and vowed to prove his innocence up to the Supreme Court.

Alzate was convicted for reportedly spending part of the CDF of Chiongbian on his wedding in Cebu that was timed during a study tour of provincial government officials and department heads of the province.

He also reportedly brought a government-issued vehicle to Cebu.

Convicted along with Alzate were provincial administrator Perla Maglinte and executive assistant Amelia Constantino-Zoleta.

Former Sarangani governor Miguel Escobar was also convicted along with former provincial treasurer Cesar Cagang and management and audit analyst Vivencia Telesforo in one at least 16 cases filed against 17 former provincial officials and employees.

The Commission on Audit said at least P46-million were lost in the systematic looting of the provincial coffers during the three-year term of Escobar.

Gadian said she has no issues with Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao who was still not a resident of the province when she filed a case against Alzate.

She urged the congressman to drop Alzate from his lineup.

Pacquiao however said Alzate cannot be disqualified yet until the Supreme Court upholds the latter’s conviction with finality.

Pacquiao almost endorsed Alzate as the vice gubernatorial candidate of his People’s Champ Movement (PCM) but squabbles and disagreement among his political leaders, including at least four incumbent mayors who questioned Alzate, eventually led to Pacquiao agreeing to a proposal to have his wife Jinkee run as vice governor.

Jinkee filed her certificate of candidacy on October 2 together with her husband, a move that caught many by surprise.

Rep. Pacquiao is seeking a second term and is running unopposed.

Gadian sought the understanding of Pacquiao in seeking the disqualification of Alzate, a close friend of the congressman.

She said she was just trying to bring closure to the case that left her unemployed as she was immediately fired by the late Vice Gov. Felipe Constantino after she exposed the multimillion peso fund scam. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews contributor)