By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Eleven large-scale estafa charges have been filed against La Castellana Councilor Donato Dumaguit and Mary Jun delos Santos in connection to the alleged Philippine National Police (PNP) recruitment scam.
La Castellana police chief, Major Nelson Amsiwen Jr., said they are gathering the sworn affidavits of the remaining 35 complainants to the case.
Amsiwen said they received a directive from La Castellana Mayor Rhumyla Nicor Mangilimutan to make sure that criminal charges would be filed against the suspects.
The police chief added they had been looking for Dumaguit, and affirmed that he was no longer present in the town.
Dumaguit earlier admitted that he is now in hiding, claiming that he discovered an alleged plot on his life.
The councilor said he is prepared to surrender to the authorities once law enforcement track down and arrest Delos Santos.
Meanwhile, town Councilor Leonardo Bacquian, chairman of the Sangguniang Bayan committee on rules, said they had already sent a letter to Dumaguit about his failure to attend regular sessions.
Bacquian said Dumaguit had already missed one special and four regular sessions, since the PNP recruitment scam surfaced.
The committee reminded Dumaguit that under the town council’s internal rules and procedure and Section 15 of Republic Act 7160, a government official with repeated unexcused absences can face sanctions.
A councilor may be reprimanded or requested to provide an explanation for his or her absence during the session.
The penalties outlined in the internal rules and procedures also include assessing the reasons for absences.
However, if the councilor continues to be absent, he or she can be charged with “dereliction of duty,” which may lead to disruptions in the collective operations of the municipal government.
Since Dumaguit was involved, the town council wanted this matter to undergo due process of law.
Bacquian explained that the committee of the whole will convene to take action if the absences persist.
Bacquian also maintained that they were not involved in the recruitment scam.
Earlier, Dumaguit issued an apology to the victims, and claimed that he too was victimized.
He said he would only appear and explain everything once Delos Santos is finally apprehended by the authorities.
At least 47 individuals sought the help of law enforcement agencies after they were scammed for recruitment to the PNP in exchange for P300,000 each.
Delos Santos has allegedly used other law enforcement agencies, such as the Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to scam people.
The National Police Commission in Western Visayas, the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, and the National Bureau of Investigation are now investigating the scam./DGB, WDJ