DILG orders Pacquiao ally removed from office

Edwin G. Espejo
The Court of Appeals has found re-electionist Sarangani Board Member Eugene Alzate and other former officials guilty of involvement in a fund scam

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the removal from office of Sarangani Board Member Eugene Alzate, a party mate of boxing champ and Rep. Manny Pacquiao.

This was after the Court of Appeals resolved on January 15, 2013, to reinstate its decision from a year earlier removing Alzate for grave misconduct and dishonesty and perpetually disqualifying him from public office.

The local DILG received a copy of the CA resolution only in March.

Alzate is running for re-election under the Pacquiao-founded People’s Champ Movement.

On September 21, 2004, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered Alzate and 7 other former elected officials of Sarangani dismissed from office. It also cancelled their eligibility and forfeited their of leave credits and retirement benefits, following their involvement in a multi-million fund scam in the province.

Among those also found guilty were former Sarangani Gov. Miguel Escobar, the late Vice Gov. Felipe Constantino, and Board Members Teodorico Diaz, Juanito Purisima, Redempto Abiso, Marlind Marcelo, and Hernando Sibugan.

Also dismissed from government service were 14 ranking employees of the provincial government unit.

Alzate is the only respondent in the case who is still in office.

Then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez said Alzate could no longer question the decision because it was final and executory, and because of his alleged failure to file an appeal.

On January 17, 2012, the CA found Alzate guilty of the administrative charges filed against him before the Ombudsman.

The Sandiganbayan later sentenced Alzate to 10 to 11 years of prison and fined P5,000 for allegedly siphoning P300,000 from the pork barrel funds of former Rep. Erwin Chiongbian.

Alzate said he has filed a motion for reconsideration, and will appeal his conviction before the Supreme Court if the Sandiganbayan denies his motion.

He lost in the 2004 election but made a political comeback and was again elected member of the provincial board in 2010.

Alzate is a close ally of Pacquiao and was initially considered as candidate for vice governor.

Party mates and close allies of the congressman, however, disagreed with the choice, prompting Pacquiao to field his wife Jinkee.

A source said it was DILG Secretary Mar Roxas who personally saw to it that the Ombudsman’s order would be served to Alzate. – Rappler.com


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