Pacquiao urged to drop Sarangani ally

Edwin G. Espejo
Sarangani Rep Manny Pacquiao is urged to cut Provincial Board Member Eugene Alzate from his party's lineup for 2013, after the latter was convicted by the Sandiganbayan for estafa

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Former Sarangani employee Mary Ann Gadian, who blew the lid on the multimillion fund scam in the province in 2003, sought the disqualification of Provincial Board Member Eugene Alzate on Monday, October 22.

Alzate, a close friend of Sarangani Rep Manny Pacquiao, was convicted by the Sandiganbayan for reportedly pocketing P300,000 from the congressional development fund (CDF) of former Rep Erwin Chiongbian.

Gadian said she has no issues with Pacquiao who was still not a resident of the province when she filed a case against Alzate. But she did urge the congressman to drop Alzate from his lineup.

Alzate is running for reelection as Sarangani board member under Pacquiao’s People’s Champ Movement (PCM).

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 her sacrifices and hardships come to naught if Alzate will remain in office.

Alzate called the disqualification case “political harassment.”

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

Almost vice governor

Alzate was convicted for reportedly diverting part of the CDF of Chiongbian — which he allegedly used during his wedding in Cebu. He also reportedly brought a government-issued vehicle.

Also convicted along with Alzate were provincial administrator Perla Maglinte, executive assistant Amelia Constantino-Zoleta, former Sarangani Gov Miguel Escobar, former provincial treasurer Cesar Cagang, and management and audit analyst Vivencia Telesforo in at least one of 16 cases filed against some 17 former provincial officials and employees.

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

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 PCM but squabbles and disagreement among his political leaders, including at least 4 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 which caught many by surprise.

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

Gadian sought the understanding of Pacquiao in seeking for the disqualification of Alzate.

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. –

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