July 13, 2024

Benguet legislative caretaker Eric Go Yap has vowed to resign from his post if proven guilty of corruption over government projects as alleged by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).
Yap was among the six current and former members of the Lower House named by the PACC allegedly involved in corruption involving infrastructure projects, which was announced by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 28.
Former Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. was also named by the President. Also included in the list of the PACC are former and current district engineers such as those assigned in Benguet.
The PACC led by Commissioner Greco Belgica accused Yap of rigging the bidding for an infrastructure project in Benguet through his agent. He was also accused of choosing a district engineer to be able to control the awards of projects in the district.
PACC also accused Yap of calling Belgica once to drop the case against a certain district engineer Lorna Ricardo, who allegedly has a case before the Ombudsman.
In a hastily called press conference on Dec. 29, 2020 Yap has denied all the accusations hurdled against him by the PACC, saying Belgica, as head of the office, should have been responsible by verifying the information fed to the President.
He, however, said he is thankful the President has made it clear there are no hard evidence against most of the politicians and district engineers listed in the PACC report.
“The public should be aware that there is no hard evidence, that it cannot be translated by just reading the names that they are already guilty because presumption of innocence must be respected all throughout until conviction or acquittal,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded speech.
Yap said the statement of the President is fair enough, as he claimed he did not participate in any bidding for infrastructure projects in the province. He said bidding for most of the projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways were completed when he was designated legislative caretaker of Benguet in January 2020.
This year, Benguet is expected to get a whopping P13 billion for infrastructure projects, one of the provinces with huge funding.
He also clarified that he stopped communicating with Belgica after he was informed by the PACC chief that Ricardo has a pending case after a friend of his requested him if she can be endorsed for assignment in Benguet.
Yap, meanwhile, said his camp suspects that his inclusion in the PACC report could be a form of early politicking. He, however, announced he is not seeking an elective post under the ACT-CIS party-list.
The lawmaker has filed an application to transfer in Benguet before the Itogon Municipal Election Office in November. – Harley F. Palangchao