Batangas town mayor sued by own brother at Ombudsman

BATANGAS CITY, Philippines – A Batangas town mayor is facing administrative charges after his brother, together with other local officials, filed a complaint against him before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Talisay Mayor Gerry Natanauan is facing complaints of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty filed by Vice Mayor Charlie Natanauan along with Sangguniang Kabataan President Nestor Cabrera, Councilor Henry de Leon, former Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) president Nestor Maala, and former councilor Eugenio Salisi.

In a 5-page complaint, they alleged that Mayor Natanauan allowed the purchase of goods without bidding, and the payment of monthly telephone and gas bills through reimbursements, instead of directly paying suppliers and dealers with checks issued by the local government.

“Gerry was accused of allowing the monthly payment for telephone and gasoline expenses amounting to P758,724.41, as well as delayed construction payments worth P30,672,242.23. He was also faulted for failing to submit disbursement vouchers amounting to P9,476,946.79” the complaint said.

The mayor was also accused of procuring 22 infrastructure projects with an aggregate amount of P37,539,849.43 and athletic uniforms and snacks worth P766,514.33 without observing the Government Procurement Reform Act. 

These transactions were flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) for irregularities. 

“Mayor Natanuan, in violation of existing laws, rules and regulations, allowed the release and payment of public funds for the anomalous transaction as found by the Office of the Commission on Audit assigned in the municipal government,” the complaint read. 

The mayor brushed aside the complaint as politically motivated.

“Pulitika lang 'yan. Naifile na nila 'yang mga bagay na 'yan noong panahon pa ng eleksyon. Ginagawa lang nila 'yan para sirain ako (That's just politics. They already filed that during the election period. They're just doing that to destroy me),” Mayor Natanauan said in a phone interview. 

Asked if he does not talk to his brother during family gatherings, he said, “Napag-uusapan na namin 'yan sa aming pamilya, pero ipinipilit pa rin naman niya 'yung kanya (We have talked about that in our family but he just insists on his claim)."

He said he would disprove the allegations against him.

Mayor Natanauan has yet to receive a copy of the complaint. – Rappler.com