Governor Arthur Yap has taken a defensive stance against his critics, saying that he has been made to appear corrupt by his detractors in an effort to unseat him as chief executive.
“Critics who want me out of office will try to portray my administration as corrupt like what they did to Rene Relampagos before, even if it was baseless and groundless,” Yap said in a statement issued Wednesday.
Yap, who is already facing a string of corruption allegations, said he is expecting more complaints to be filed against him.
“We expect that complaints will also be filed against me to support their propaganda,” Yap said.
Yap is facing two counts of graft and one count each of malversation and malversation through falsification of public documents over his alleged involvement in the infamous multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
The governor has been accused of helping funnel P62 million in pork barrel funds to bogus non-government organizations (NGOs) during his stint as agriculture secretary from 2007 to 2009.
Less than four months after assuming his post as governor in 2019, Yap was ordered by the Sandiganbayan to undergo a 90-day preventive suspension in relation to the charges.
Bohol’s chief executive is also facing graft charges over the alleged irregular approval of car loan plans to the board of trustees of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) from 2008 to 2009.
In March this year, a graft complaint was also filed against Yap and several provincial government officials before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly entering into anomalous transactions that wasted public funds amid the pandemic.
Yap and the other officials, through a complaint filed by former Tagbilaran City Mayor Dan Lim, were charged on March 17 before the anti-graft body in Quezon City with violation of Section 3 of Republic Act 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Act, for serious dishonesty and grave misconduct.
The complaint stemmed from the overpriced and questionable purchases from supplies with dubious financial, legal, or technical credentials and track record.
Yap meanwhile downplayed Lim’s accusations deeming it a political move and saying that the allegations are “malicious” and “baseless.”
The first-term governor found it unsurprising that Lim was spearheading the filing of complaint considering that the former Tagbilaran City chief executive has long been openly vocal in his criticisms against the administration.
According to Yap, he will continue to focus on his work as chief executive and not allow the accusations to distract him.
He maintained his innocence as the battery of complaints filed against him remains unresolved.
“We will not allow this to distract us from our work to serve the best interest of the Boholanos,” Yap said.
“These critics want to make people believe that officials are guilty just because cases are filed against them. We have the right to be presumed innocent under law,” he added.