2 Pampanga mayors, et. al face graft raps

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Jan. 17 filed a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against two Pampanga mayors for the sale of 4,038 hogs confiscated at a raid in a piggery farm-turned-shabu laboratory in Barangay San Ildefonso, Magalang town.

Respondents in the PDEA’s 10-page complaint, with prayer for indefinite suspension, are Magalang Mayor Malou Lacson and Bacolor Mayor Jomar Hizon.

Also included in the complaint are the chairman of Barangay San Ildefonso and five town hall executives, PDEA sources said over the phone.

In the complaint, PDEA alleged that Lacson sold the 4,038 confiscated pigs amounting to P7 million without court disposition.

Hizon, who represented Pampanga’s Best during the auction of the pigs, won the bidding after three other bidders failed to show up during the auction.

The PDEA noted that the pigs were owned by private individuals, not the municipality of Magalang.

Wilkerson Villanueva, who heads PDEA National Capital Region, said the pigs
were included in the pieces of evidence during the raid at the underground shabu laboratory in Barangay San Ildefonso on Sept. 7, 2016.
He said all the things found inside the farm are confiscated in favor of the government.

“The hogs are part of the evidence and no one is allowed to take (them) out without a court order,” he added.

In a statement last year, the PDEA said everything within the facility, located at the foot of Mount Arayat, including the property itself, is considered confiscated in favor of the government.

Lacson earlier said she merely acted on the complaints of residents and the decision made by health authorities.

She said: “The pigs were left behind to die. No one was feeding them. So we decided to call for an auction.”

The proceeds, according to Lacson, had been deposited in the town coffers under a trust fund.

“I presumed we did the right thing, because we have a certification issued by agriculture officials, which we made as basis. I also sought legal opinion from higher office of the interior and local government on the disposition of the confiscated hogs,” Lacson said in an earlier interview.

Hizon has yet to issue a statement regarding the case but vowed to answer the allegation in a proper forum. –with the reports of Jess Malabanan

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