A Tagbilaran City councilor on Thursday advised stall tenants at Pook Pantalan in Tagbilaran that they can file charges against the former village councilor who has allegedly been collecting rent and utility fees illegally in the area.
Councilor Dodong Gonzaga said that the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) is crafting a bill that would provide a “remedial” solution to the issue but it is up to the tenants to file criminal or civil cases against the village official who has earlier been identified as former Barangay Cogon councilor Erwin Lumotos.
“Ika-advise nako sa mga vendor diha na naapil sa unauthorized collection, sila nay bahala mo-kolekta ni Mr. Lumotos pinaagi sa korte ba, ug file-an ba og criminal or civil case, ug unsa ilang mahuna-hunaan kay sila may na-biktima. Ang syudad remedial lang ni among gi-himo na aron ma-undang na,” said Gonzaga.
Lumotos was earlier invited to four SP sessions which investigated the alleged unauthorized collection at Pook Pantalan but failed to appear and only submitted a letter to the council explaining his absence.
“Among gipatawag si Mr. Lumotos sa ni-aging mga buwan pero nagpada man siya’g suwat nga dili kuno siya mo-appear diri, pero mo-atubang lang kuno siya og unsay kiha ug complaint na i-file [against] niya,” Gonzaga said.
Lumotos since 2017 has allegedly been facilitating the collection of rent and utility fees at Pook Pantalan without issuing city government receipts to the tenants while the City Treasurer’s Office also confirmed earlier that it has not received any payment for rentals in the area.
Lumotos was a barangay councilor when the issue erupted last year, but he failed to secure a seat in Barangay Cogon’s village council during the May 2018 polls.
Gonzaga did not dismiss the possibility that individuals or higher ranking officials are backing Lumotos in his alleged illegal collection but noted that the issue is subject for a deeper probe.
“Og we will conduct a deeper investigation niini, mahibaw-an g’yud na. Pero at this point in time, maglisod ta og mag-speculate, kay og mag-mention ka og mga ngan, dili pud siguro angay kay wa pay basehan,” he said.
Gonzaga meanwhile put forward proposed ordinance 18-18 which seeks to turn Pook Pantalan into a “Special Market Area” which would ensure that the city government facilitates the collection of rent in the area.
He noted that majority of other SP members appeared to be in favor of the measure.
According to Gonzaga, once the city government officially takes over the rental collection in Pook Pantalan, fees are expected to plunge as the proposed bill also seeks to set rent at P7 per square meter.
“Mas ma minos-minos ang ilang bayad, kay dagko kuno ilang mga gipangbayad. Kaning ordinansa na akong gi-propose karon, P7 per sqm ra man. Naay gabayad diha og P10,000 kada-buwan, instead ana, mga P2,000 na siguro bayran,” he said. (AD)