Zamboanga del Norte

Zamboanga del Norte capitol workers file graft complaints vs ex-governor, son

Gualberto Laput

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Zamboanga del Norte capitol workers file graft complaints vs ex-governor, son

Former Zamboanga del Norte governor Roberto Uy and his son Darel Dexter, the mayor of Dipolog City.

Former governor Roberto Uy and Dipolog Mayor Darel Dexter Uy face accusations of colluding in the donation of dialysis machines and other other hospital equipment allegedly to the detriment of Zamboanga del Norte

DIPOLOG, Philippines – Two employees of Zamboanga del Norte provincial government filed before the Ombudsman criminal and administrative cases against former governor Roberto Uy and his son, Dipolog Mayor Darel Dexter Uy.

Alex Barrera, an employee at the provincial board, and Josephine Lacquio, a worker at the governor’s office, accused the former governor of violating Section 3 of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for donating some P925.58 million worth of provincial government properties to other local governments. The properties included vehicles and hospital equipment.

His son Darel Dexter was accused by the other capitol worker of connivance.

Pressed for comment, Dipolog’s mayor said on Monday, March 4, that he and his father have yet to receive the complaints filed by Barrera and Lacquio.

The administrative cases were filed for the “commission of acts constituting dishonesty, grave misconduct, gross inefficiency, and incompetence in the performance of official duties, and conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of service.”

“The donations were hastily done and were clear acts of sabotage intended to cripple the administration of incumbent Rosalina Jalosjos,” Barrera told Rappler on Monday. 


In an affidavit submitted to the ombudsman’s office on February 13, Lacquio alleged that Darel Dexter connived in the execution of deeds of donation for 15 newly acquired dialysis machines and other medical equipment from the provincial government-owned Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center to the Dipolog City-owned Corazon C. Aquino Hospital.

Lacquio said only outdated dialysis machines, aged around 10 years, remained at the Zamboanga del Norte hospital. These machines were insufficient to accommodate the needs of the hundreds of patients requiring dialysis treatment.

Lacquio complained that her husband Porferio, who suffers from chronic kidney disease, was forced to go to private facilities for medical care because 15 of the dialysis machines at the Zamboanga del Norte Medical Center were transferred to Corazon C. Aquino Hospital. Before the donation was made, she said, Proferio was receiving free hemodialysis at the provincial hospital.

Worse, Lacquio added, the donated dialysis machines could not be immediately used because the hospital in Dipolog has yet to get an accreditation from the Department of Health (DOH). Its personnel have yet to receive training to operate the machines, she said.

She said the high costs of three hemodialysis sessions per week took a toll on their family’s finances. She said their debts piled up, lost their vehicle and were selling their house.

Political alliances

In his affidavit, Barrera detailed that approximately 42.61% or roughly P394.4 million of the donations were given to Dipolog. Another 8.18% or P78.7 million was directed to Labason town, while 64.2%, or P57.7 million found its way to Gutalac town. The remainder was distributed among 16 of Zamboanga del Norte’s 25 towns.

Labason’s mayor, Jelster Ed Quimbo, and Gutalac’s mayor, Eddie Justin Quimbo, are relatives and staunch political allies of the Uy family.

Barrera said the other town governments that received the donations were also political allies of the Uys.

Barrera has a history of not seeing eye to eye with the former governor. In 2013, he was hired by the provincial government, but his services were terminated four months later in what he described as a “political vendetta” by Roberto, who was the governor then. Nevertheless, Barrera fought it out and was reinstated in 2015.

Auditors’ findings

On January 19, 2023, the Commission on Audit (COA) released an Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM), signed by COA team leader Jonathan Manuel and supervising auditor Jeanette Calamohoy, stating that the donations “were not in accordance with pertinent provisions on the Rules and Regulations on Supply and Property Management in the Local Governments.”

The COA recommended that the provincial capitol “institute legal actions to recover the donated vehicles, equipment, and lands.”

State auditors said the modality used for the mass donations can be seen, based on a rule set by the COA as “transfer without cost which is dependent only on the two established criteria: 1. Become unserviceable, and 2. No longer needed.”

However, the COA said all of the donated vehicles and equipment were “serviceable, mostly in its best condition, being newly procured, currently in use, and with values,” making the acts “invalid.” –

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