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Graft raps filed vs. ex-Iloilo mayor Mabilog, councilor over towing services deal

The Office of the Ombudsman has filed graft charges against former Iloilo City mayor Jed Mabilog and councilor Plaridel Nava II before the Sandiganbayan over alleged intervention in the awarding of a government contract to a towing services firm where they have an interest in.

Based on the criminal information filed by the government prosecutors, Mabilog and Nava, as representatives of the Iloilo City government, allegedly entered a memorandum of agreement with 3L Towing Services allowing the latter to clamp and/or tow illegally parked vehicles in the city without competitive processes as provided under Republic Act 6957.

Likewise, the Ombudsman accused Mabilog and Nava of issuing business and mayor’s permits to 3L Towing Services even if its listed owner, Leny Garcia, did not apply for such permit.

In addition, the anti-graft body said Mabilog allegedly contributed P500,000 to 3L Towing Services’ capital, and that Nava was researching for possible suppliers of wheel clamps from China, preparing the documents for 3L Towing Services’ registration with the Department of Trade and Industry and Bureau of Internal Revenue.

The MOA between Iloilo City and 3L Towing Services was entered into back in January 2015, the Ombudsman said.

“Accused Mabilog instructed accused Nava to draft the above-named MOA without incorporating the requirements of  R. A. No. 6957 to favor 3L Towing Services, secured the services of  another lawyer to review/revise the draft MOA, requested authority from  the Sangguniang Panlungsod to sign the MOA with 3L Towing Services, and signed the MOA,” it said.

“Accused Nava on the other hand, sponsored a January 20, 2015 Regulation Ordinance No. 2015-049, amending  Regulation Ordinance No. 2014-191 (Towing Ordinance of Iloilo City), by adding provisions allowing a private person or entity owning or possessing Denver boots or wheel clamps to enter into a MOA with the City Government with a reward of 70% of the fines collected, drafted the MOA incorporating said amendments with 3L Towing Services in mind and publicly defended the MOA with 3L Towing Services, all to the  detriment of public service,” it added.

The Ombudsman recommended a P90,000 bail each for Mabilog and Nava.

Likewise, government prosecutors listed Garcia as its witness.

GMA News Online has reached out to Mabilog and his wife, Marivic, for comment but they have yet to reply as of the moment.

In a separate statement, Nava expressed confidence that he will be cleared of the charge since he was supposed to testify against Mabilog.

"In 2015, former mayor Mabilog entered into a private-public partnership contract and a joint venture with a private towing and clamping company. As a result of the contract, Manuel 'Boy' Mejorada slapped former mayor Mabilog with criminal and administrative cases before the Office of the Ombudsman. In support of the complaint of Mejorada against Mabilog, I executed an affidavit corroborating and confirming the allegations of Mejorada against Mabilog," Nava said in a Facebook post.

"I am confident that this case will be dismissed insofar as I am concerned. Aside from the fact that there is lacking of evidence against me, former mayor Mabilog is currently nowhere to be found," Nava added. —AOL/VBL, GMA Integrated News