Mabalacat City dad reveals questionable P2.7B loan

“Lack of transparency” and “conspiracy” have allegedly attended the approval of appropriation ordinances that paved the way for the P2.780 billion loan intended for the construction of the Mabalacat City Government Center.

Mabalacat City Councilor Jun Castro said he now challenge the “legality” of the appropriation ordinances which according to him were allegedly “railroaded” by Mabalacat Mayor Cris Garbo, Vice Mayor Geld Aquino, the 11 City Councilors and the City Treasurer.

The P2.780 billion was appropriated for the construction of the new Mabalacat City Hall, slaughterhouse, wellness center, hemodialysis, and improvement of the old public market.

Charged at the Ombudsman with Garbo are Vice Mayor Gerald Guttrie Aquino, Councilors Timothy Paul Llanos Dee, Noelito Castro, Roland Pena, Carlos Francis Dizon, Marjorie Grace Sambo, Victor Tiglao II, Elizabeth Pineda, Jerry Magsino, Cherry Manalo, Elmer Mendiola (ABC President), Hans Christian Balingit (SK Federation President) and City Treasurer Marlene Mendoza.

The issue stemmed from the approval of two appropriation ordinances – one amounting to P610,000,000, and P2.780 billion – all intended for the purchase of a 2.1-hectare of land owned by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Inc. (PLDT) in Barangay Camachiles, City of Mabalacat; and the construction of the Mabalacat City Government Center.

Castro said the appropriation ordinances had been allegedly “railroaded” by Mayor Garbo and members of the City Council. The acquisition of the land and the appropriation ordinances did not also pass through public hearings, said Castro. He was also removed as Majority Floor Leader.

The Committee on Appropriations is now headed by Councilor Rox Pena, the environmentalist.
To make sure the appropriation ordinances will be passed, Castro said he was also reportedly stripped of his chairmanship in the Committee of Appropriations.

Castro revealed the appropriation ordinances approved by the City Council lacked “transparency.”
On March 8, 2023, the Mabalacat City Council in its 35th Regular Session at the SP Session Hall in Xevera Mabalacat, had approved Appropriation Ordinance No. 05, Series of 2023, authorizing Supplemental Budget No. 001-2023, involving P610,000,000 for the acquisition of the lot in Barangay Camachiles.
Resolution No. 155 has also authorized Mayor Garbo “to sign the absolute Deed of Sale with PLDT Inc. covering the purchase of the 2.1 hectare property.”

On March 15, 2023, Castro said Mayor Garbo and the rest of the respondents then entered into a loan with the Land Bank of the Philippines amounting to P2.70 billion for the construction of the Mabalacat City Government Center.

Castro said this loan had been taken out even though Resolution No. 91, Series of 2022, entitled “Resolution Approving the Annual Investment Plan (AIP) for FY 2023 of the Local Government of the Mabalacat City, Pampanga” approved on October 27, 2022, indicated the construction of a new Mabalacat City Government Center is not included among the mentioned projects.

Castro revealed the terms of payments is not also immediately known.

On the issue that he double-crossed the respondents, “Hindi po ako traydor. Eku pu traydor a tau. Ibat ku pu keng pakakalulu pero eku traydor,” said Castro. “Eku pu balu nung nanu ing planu ning Apung Ginu kanaku. Pero nung nanu man pu ita tangapan ku,” said Castro (“I am not a traitor. I am not a traitor individual. I came from being poor but I am not a traitor. I do not know the plans of God for me, but whatever it is I will accept it.”)

“I am fighting for truth. You are not a traitor if you are fighting for truth,” said Castro. “We want transparency and accountability.”

iOrbitNews has reached out to Mayor Garbo but the latter who was celebrating his birthday said he will face the issue after they submit their counter-affidavits on Monday, October 16, 2023.•

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