ALAMINOS Mayor Hernani Braganza is unruffled by the renewed assertion of his political opponents that he is facing a plunder case.
“As far as I know, we have yet to receive an official copy of the supposed plunder case filed against me,” Braganza said in reaction to the media briefing held last week by his accusers, the 15 former and incumbent barangay chairmen, together with their lawyers.
“What’s new about their statements? They are showing the same documents. According to my lawyer, there is no plunder case. It’s more of a request for the Ombudsman to have me investigated (based on their allegations),” he said.
“Wala naman kasing attempted plunder na kaso,” he added with a laugh.
“All the allegations that they have leveled so far against me are all lies. Anytime I can face anybody. I am ready, always ready to face and answer the charges. I’m not hiding anything,” he added.
The mayor also challenged his accusers to come to Alaminos to have a look at the supposed anomalous projects that are either unfinished or way behind schedule.
“I invite them to go to Alaminos, see for themselves the project and if they cannot see them, they should touch and if they can’t still touch them, they must bang their head on them so they can feel they are existing,” he said.
At the same time, Braganza said he is not diverting the issue when he challenged Governor Amado Espino Jr. to show his Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) as he himself is ready to do the same.
“Let us be both judged by the people of Pangasinan with our SALN,” he said.
PAPERWEIGHT VS HEAVYWEIGHT
Meanwhile, Atty. Abraham Espejo, the lawyer of the barangay chairmen that filed a complaint against Braganza and also Espino’s counsel in the plunder case involving alleged jueteng bribe money, compared the two cases as being “paperweight” and “heavyweight”.
Espejo described the case against Espino, filed by Bugallon Mayor Rodrigo Orduña, a former political ally of the governor, as being “paperweight” given that the complaint is merely less than 10 pages and does not have supporting documents.
On the other hand, their case against Braganza, he said, is “heavyweight” with more than 300 pages of supporting documents.
“Ito ‘yong complaint na isinampa kay Governor Espino, wala pang ten pages, four pages lang e, affidavit lang. Ito ang sinampa kay Mr. Braganza, documented with pictures, documents, vouchers, budgets, accomplishment reports, COA reports. Obviously ito heavyweight; ito, pinweight, paperweight, balewala,” Espejo said.
Further, Espejo noted that the two cases are very different in that Braganza’s involves public funds while that of Espino is private funds from illegal gambling operations.
At the same time, Espejo emphasized that the case filed by the village heads against their mayor has nothing to do with Espino’s case.–Eva Visperas with report from Johanne R. Macob