La Trinidad zoning officer sued for alleged corruption

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet –The zoning officer of this town faces an administrative case for alleged corrupt practices, Councilor Nestor Fongwan, Jr. said on Tuesday.

He said that on Monday, April 2, he filed an administrative case before the Civil Service Office Cordillera against engineer Emerson Tabernero, the zoning administrator/enforcer of this town.

Tabernero was charged with grave misconduct, dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and violation of Section 4 and 7 of Republic Act (RA) 6713, otherwise known as “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.”

Fongwan, who sits as Board member of Benguet, representing the provincial league of councilors, filed the administrative case against Tabernero on the basis of the affidavit complaint executed by James Benos of Barangay San Carlos, Baguio City and owner a parcel of lot in Longlong, Puguis (La Trinidad), who was applying for an excavation permit at the said zoning office.

Fongwas said that Tabernero allegedly caused the undue delay in the processing of the excavation permit being applied by Benos and allegedly solicited PHP10,000 for the processing of topographical profile sketch of the subject land. Despite the completion of the required document in relation to the permit being applied for and payment of the amount asked, “no topographical profile sketch nor permit was ever processed, shown nor issued,” Fongwan said.

Benos in his affidavit said “the inexcusable delay in the processing of the necessary documents for the permit caused both monetary loss and mental stress to me.”

Added to what had been committed, Fongwan’s anger emanated from Tabernero’s alleged use of his name as an excuse for the delay in the processing of the said permit.

“We already warned him as early as 2016 to stop his corrupt practices , but to no avail, naging worst pa (it even became worse),” the councilor said.

“With the filing of the administrative case, I believe that other victims will come out and tell their bad experience,” Fongwan said.

Mayor Romeo Salda for his part urged all persons allegedly victimized by Tabernero to come out and file a complaint as he vowed that the employee will be afforded due process.

As of press time the Philippine News Agency was unable to contact Tabernero, who reportedly took a leave of absence from work.

However, in an interview by a local private radio station, Tabenero denied all the allegations.