Bulaong rejects bribery attempt

LIBMANAN, Camarines Sur—"In case the LGU pushes through its decision to borrow P150 million from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), you will be given P400,000 as part of your share.”

Libmanan Vice Mayor Romel Bulaong
Libmanan Vice Mayor Romel Bulaong
This was the promise allegedly made to Vice Mayor Romel Bulaong by a member of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Libmanan, Camarines Sur.

In an exclusive interview over BBS DWLV, Bulaong revealed that he was offered an envelope by a member of the Municipal Council of this town, whom he requested not to be named, should he approve of the proposed loan.

“A member of the SB of our town was handing me an envelope, which is said to be containing P25,000 in exchange for my signature in the resolution approving the transaction,” he said in an interview by BICOL STANDARD.

Bulaong explained that their LGU is still amortizing the loan payment for the heavy equipment that they bought a few years ago.

“There is no urgent need to buy a new one,” he clarified.

“We should carefully and extensively discuss the reasons why we are borrowing money for some heavy equipment because the amount is so huge,” Bulaong said.

Meanwhile, he stressed that the original plan of the municipality was to borrow money for the construction the Municipal Market, which is an income-generating venture.

However, the idea was shelved because there were many requirements that needed to be fulfilled before the money would be released. Among them is a comprehensive study for the viability of the project.

He revealed that with or without his signature, the majority of the members of the Municipal Council could railroad the approval of the resolution.

“My intention now is to make it known to our constituents that there is this plan to borrow money,” the vice mayor said.

He further explained that notwithstanding the approval of a resolution to authorize the Chief Executive of the town to borrow money, a Sangguniang Bayan Resolution was already previously passed authorizing Mayor Marilyn Jimenez to negotiate with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

The SB Resolution that granted Mayor Jimenez the authority to negotiate with LBP was sponsored by Municipal Councilor Ariel Orino and approved by the majority of the members of the council.

During said session, Municipal Councilor Jesus Camara was the Presiding Officer, in the absence of Vice Mayor Bulaong.

Illegal numbers game

In the same interview, Bulaong vehemently denied having any participation in the illegal activities that are allegedly being perpetrated by several town officials.

He said that he does not receive any single centavo from the illegal numbers game popularly called Small Town Lottery (STL) which has been operating in his town for many years.

“My understanding is that 10% of the gross collection from the STL operation is remitted to the local treasury. But I was informed that during the previous year, only close to P30,000 was being turned over to the coffers of the LGU,” he said.

“Some SB members and I have discussed this privately. We have decided to substantiate our complaint,” he added.

“If I consent to receive the grease money that is being given to some town officials, I would be getting a substantial amount” he stated.

Bulaong, a first termer Vice Mayor, was originally elected as an ally of town Mayor Jimenez, but the latter jumped to the opposing political camp.

A brewing political showdown is expected in the forthcoming local elections.

Bulaong, who is now the leader of the opposition group in this town, is expected to challenge Jimenez in the 2016 mayoralty race.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM


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