Self-confessed jueteng bagman accuses Albay governor of receiving P8M in bribes

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Self-confessed jueteng bagman accuses Albay governor of receiving P8M in bribes

'GO HOME.' Albay Governor Edcel Greco Lagman directs two town mayors to send home evacuees from outside the Mayon volcano danger zone to avoid straining meager resources.

Rhaydz B. Barcia/Rappler

Albay Governor Edcel Greco Lagman denies the accusation and points to his political enemies as being behind the criminal complaint submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman

MANILA, Philippines – A self-confessed jueteng bagman has filed a complaint against Albay Governor Edcel Greco “Grex” Lagman, accusing the official of receiving as much as P8 million in bribes from illegal gambling operators at the time when he was the province’s vice governor.

Lagman strongly denied the accusation and pointed to his political enemies as being behind the 35-page complaint submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday, February 13.

“All the allegations in the complaint are false and are driven by political motives. I have never received any jueteng payola,” Lagman said.

Lagman was reelected vice governor in the 2022 elections but rose to become governor after the winner in Albay’s gubernatorial race, Noel Rosal, was disqualified for violation of an election rule on public spending while he was serving as mayor of Legazpi City. Rosal briefly served as the governor from June 30 to December 1, 2022.

Lagman’s accuser, Alwin Nimo, a former barangay chairman of Anislag in the town of Daraga, has alleged that the governor received bribes from the province’s gambling lords for nearly three years, from August 2019 to June 2022, while he was serving as Albay’s vice governor.

Specifically, Nimo filed a complaint for direct bribery, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and a law that provides stiffer penalties for illegal gambling.

Nimo claimed to have personal and firsthand knowledge of the alleged bribery, alleging that he served as a bridge between Albay’s jueteng operators and Lagman. The self-confessed jueteng intermediary also alleged that it was he who initially delivered P60,000 weekly to the then-vice governor.

It was not the first time Nimo had gone public with his allegations against Lagman. In early 2023, he spoke to local reporters and provided them with details of the alleged corruption.

He asked to be admitted as a state witness against Lagman so he could be entitled to government protection.

“I have been forced to take great precautions for my personal safety and those of my family members. I have been moving around from one place to another, afraid that I will be a target of retribution from the jueteng operators,” read part of Nimo’s affidavit.

He claimed that Lagman made him a marked man when the governor denied receiving money from local gambling lords.

Nimo’s cousin, Dexter Maceda, has also come forward to sign an affidavit alleging that there was a period when he deposited P60,000 a week into Lagman’s Banco de Oro-Timog branch bank account at the then-vice governor’s request, an allegation supported by copies of bank transaction slips.

Meanwhile, Lagman questioned the timing of Nimo’s complaint, saying that he suspected it was related to a Senate investigation of local officials in Albay. 

He said the accusations were lies and fabrications as part of a politically motivated smear campaign against him. 

Lagman also said he would respond to the allegations in detail after he receives a copy of the complaint.

“My conscience is clear,” Lagman said. –

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