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Pampanga 3rd District Representative and House Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. is in the hot seat, facing graft complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged irregularities in the P612-million flood control projects awarded by the Department of Public Works and Highways Central Luzon (Region III).
The complaint was filed on September 7 by Barangay Sto. Cristo chair Terrence Napao.
Napao is also the president of the League of Barangays in Mexico town in Pampanga and known supporter of ousted mayor Teddy Tumang.
Local politics in the town of Mexico has been simmering with rival groups accusing each other of corruption and engaging in dirty tricks.
Tumang was dismissed from office for grave misconduct by the Department of the Interior and Local Government in August. The town’s vice mayor Ruding Gonzales was installed as the new Mexico mayor on August 28, almost a month after Napao’s complaint against Representative Dong Gonzales was released to the media.
But Napao dismissed the idea of Tumang’s involvement in the filing of the complaint, and said he knew about the contracts since he had copies of them.
“I am the president of the league of barangays here in our town. Mayor Tumang has nothing to do with this. I have complete documents – from the general information sheet, copies from the Securities and Exchange Commission, even the contracts, we have them. We were able to obtain copies from the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways],” Napao told Rappler in an interview on Wednesday, September 27.
“We were waiting for his response but he said he did not receive any complaint. I read in the news that he did not yet receive my complaint. That’s why I released it to the media so he’d receive it.”
Napao filed criminal complaints against Gonzales, five members of his family, and four officials of DPWH Central Luzon for alleged violations of Republic Act 3019 or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act” and Article 216 of the Revised Penal Code” or “Possession of Prohibited Interest by a Public Officer.”
The 16-page complaint cited three civil works contracts for flood management programs in the towns of Mexico, Bacolor, and San Fernando City under A.D. Gonzales Jr. Construction & Trading, which is managed and controlled by the Gonzales family.
“These projects are glaring examples of conflict of interest in public service and obviously manipulated to favor the family-owned business of Congressman Gonzales, a known super-rich contractor in the province and a powerful trapo (traditional politician),” Napao said in a press release.
In his complaint, Napao cited Gonzales’ children, San Fernando City councilor Brenz Gonzales and Pampanga 3rd District board member Micah Gonzales, who are both newcomers in politics and are serving their first term of office.
Two more of his children, Aurelio Gonzales III and Aurelio Michaeline Gonzales, and his elder sister Zenaida Quiambao, are being implicated for allegedly conspiring, all of them being officers of the company.
The DPWH Region III officials included in the complaint are regional director Roseller Tolentino, and bids and awards committee chair Ignacio Evangelista, vice chair Arthur Santos, and secretary Anna Marie Tayag.
“Any right-minded citizen would easily figure out why and how a senior deputy speaker, a city councilor and a bokal (Sangguniang Panlalawigan member) owning a construction company and with DPWH officials under their beck and call were favored with hundreds of millions worth of government contracts,” Napao said. “With huge projects such as these, it would be the height of naiveté not to sense a collusion between the congressman’s company and the DPWH.”
Gonzales, on May 16, was installed as the second highest ranking House official after a controversial revamp that resulted in the displacement of former president and 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Now on his fifth term, Gonzales served Pampanga as 3rd district representative from 2007 to 2010, 2010 to 2013, 2016 to 2019, and 2019 to 2022, when he proposed longer terms for public officials. He was a provincial board member from 2001 to 2007. – Rappler.com