DAVAO CITY – Tagum City mayor Allan Rellon is facing graft charges filed by bus companies before the Ombudsman.

In a local newspaper in Tagum City,  Medianet Balita,  published on March 16, four bus companies complained the presence of colorum vans in Tagum City Overland Transport Terminal (TCOTT).

The complainants include Davao Metro Shuttle Corporation, Bachelor Express Incorporated, Davao del Norte Express and Golden Valley Transport.

Among the cases filed were violation of Section 3 of the Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Official and Employees.

The complainants said they sent a letter to the City Mayor’s Office last July 2, 2013 and again on September 3, 2014, but Rellon allegedly did not take action.

In a telephone interview with Radyo ni Juan Tagum, Rellon confirmed that he received a communication from the Ombudsman on the filed complaint of Oyo Uy, owner of Metro Shuttle and the other buses.

Uy, son of former Tagum mayor Rey Uy, ran and lost to Rellon during the mayoralty elections last 2013.

Rellon said the allegations include he has been receiving money from van operators.

“22 years na ko ning panggubyerno. Wala gyud ko nagahimo og mga ingon niana nga binuang (I’m with the government for 22 years already. I am not involved with such corrupt practices),” Rellon said.

Rellon said he already submitted his counter-affidavit to the Ombudsman.

Rellon said the complainants would want to stop the operation of vans in the TCOTT. He said an ordinance allows van operations in the city.

“Kanang giingon nila nga colorum, nagsige na man tag panakop niana. Although naay makalusot ana, ato nang isumbong sa (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) (We continue to apprehend drivers of colorum vans. As some of them get away, we make complaints to the LTFRB),” Rellon said.

Rellon noted that colorum vans also ply in some towns in ComVal like in Nabunturan and Monkayo towns.

“Sa akong baruganan man gud nganong undangon man nato ng van nga sa ubang lugar naa man? (Why would I stop van operation when in other places there are vans for public transportation?)” Rellon said.

Rellon said he believes the accusations are just part of a political strategy against him.

“Kabalo man ta sa storya anang van, I consider that as part of political harassment nga diin sundugon nato ang gihimo sa niagi nga dili pasudlon ang van sa Tagum, pandakpon, gukuron, (I consider that as part of a political harassment so that I will implement what the previous administration did to van operators- they were barred from plying in Tagum;  they were arrested, and chased),” Rellon said.

During the term of former Tagum City Mayor Rey Uy,  the Tagum City traffic personnel apprehends vans picking up and unloading in the city as they violate LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2007-007 which imposes a garage-to-terminal, point-to-point policy where there would be no picking up and no unloading of passengers along the route.

The garage/terminal-to-terminal franchise of vans means that vans can only pick up and unload passengers from their point of origin of terminal or authorized private garage to their point of destination terminal or authorized garage.

Rellon said allowing vans to ply in Tagum City has helped improved the city’s tourism as they could choose their means of transport.

Rellon said millions of pesos were added to the city’s fund. (davaotoday.com)

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