Governor Art Yap on Friday expressed support for Bishop Abet Uy’s advocacy against vote-buying and corruption in government.
Yap, during the Capitol’s weekly briefing, issued the statement when asked for his reaction to Uy’s release of a song urging the public not to sell their votes and noting that government officials who buy votes tend to be corrupt.
The song’s music video has been viewed 130,000 times since it was posted by Uy on Facebook on November 19, 2021.
Yap, amid speculations that the song was targeted at the purported massive vote buying in Bohol and allegations of corruption against local officials including himself, said that the Catholic Church has been generally vocal against illegal practices in government in the entire country, not just in Bohol.
“Bishop Abet Uy ever since he has been with us in the third district sa Jagna has always campaigned against vote-buying and corruption and the entire Church, whether in Bohol or in our country, have always campaigned against corruption and on vote-buying. Mao na for the provincial government of Bohol we can only support these steps,” said Yap.
Uy earlier said that he needed to come up with a new approach that he hoped would finally convince individuals not to sell their votes.
He said that songs, especially catchy ones, tend to be repeated by listeners with their meaning eventually embedded in their thoughts upon repetition.
In the 2019 elections, former gubernatorial candidate and Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. accused Yap of massive vote buying, which the governor denied.
Meanwhile, Yap is also facing multiple graft charges before the Sandiganbayan and Office of the Ombudsman.
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.
Yap downplayed his supposed role in the scam as he filed a motion before the Sanidganbyan to reconsider its resolution ordering for the trial to proceed in the charges against him.
In July, 2020, the Sandiganbayan denied Yap’s motion.
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.
Yap has also been implicated in the also notorious fertilizer scam in which he, as then-administrator of the National Food Authority, was involved in the purchase of 92,158 bags of fertilizer for Regions 2 to 5 and the National Capital Region in 2003.
The prosecution alleged that no public bidding was conducted for the transaction. The guidelines in the negotiated mode of procurement also allegedly deviated from the intended invitation of suppliers within the stated NFA regions as bidders.
However, two cases against Yap for similar transactions for fertilizer supply to Visayas and Mindanao have been dismissed. The governor has expressed confidence that the one for Luzon will also be junked.
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.
The complaint which was also filed by Lim accused Yap and the other officials of violating 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 suppliers with dubious financial, legal, or technical credentials and track record.