THE barangay captain and a Sangguniang Barangay member of the upscale Bgy. Bel-Air in Makati City have been suspended by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) following accusation of alleged corruption over the award of food services contract in 2007.
In a memorandum dated August 23, 2016, the DILG suspended for a period of 90 days Punong Barangay Constancia Q. Lichauco and SB member Conchita Calauag.
“Considering the premises above, you are hereby directed to cease from exercising and performing your duties and functions as punong barangay and Sangguniang Barangay member, respectively, for a period of ninety (90) days from the receipt of this order,” the DILG read in part.
The order came when Judge Encarnacion Jaja Moya of the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 146 junked the motion for reconsideration of Lichauco and Calauag on the magistrate’s May 3, 2016 order relative to criminal case no. 15-090 and no. 15-091 for violation of Republic Act 3019 (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
The posh Bgy. Bel-Air stands out because, as it was said, it is the richest in Makati, at least in terms of real property tax collections. Makati City is itself among the richest in Metro Manila.
Being barangay captain of Bel-Air means having a lot of resources at your disposal. Lichauco has, in fact, run five times as village chief in the past; three of those five candidacies were unopposed.
But the long-time barangay captain faces a graft case over a 2007 contract between the barangay and Two Chefs Corp., a food supply company.
Documents showed that the Two Chefs Corp. that supplied food during events sponsored by the barangay is owned by members of the Lichauco family.
In its opposition to Lichauco’s motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence, the Office of the Ombudsman bared that there was no public bidding ever conducted since the service contract between Bgy. Bel-Air and Two Chefs was entered into on March 2, 2007.
Furthermore, graft probers found out through testimonial and documentary evidence that the incorporators of Two Chefs were the sons and daughters-in-law of Lichauco.
“This is more than sufficient proof of indirect pecuniary interest in the said corporation,” the Ombudsman’s opposition dated August 8, 2016 read.