After a few days of silence, Board Member Ramil Robles and SK Federation President Roxan Escanilla, ex-officio member, finally spoke out and denied they were allegedly involved in the anomalous distribution of DOLE-TUPAD cash-aid in Gubat town, Sorsogon.
It will be recalled that Board Member John Paul “Ton” Erlano revealed that some of his colleagues on the Provincial Board allegedly benefited from TUPAD money.
“TUPAD cash aid anomaly bombshell”
The controversy linking the 2 Board Members started when BM Erlano threw into public knowledge the “TUPAD bombshell” in his privilege speech last Monday.
The anomaly is allegedly with the “blessing” of another Board Member, having slashed as much as 4,300.00 pesos from the regular wage of 9,300 pesos, but the person in payroll need not to work anymore.
In Gubat, TUPAD beneficiaries “under the care” by some Board Members numbered 200 “beneficiaries”, translated into millions of pesos, BM Erlano said.
“Board Member Robles airs side”
Board Member Ramil Robles on Friday denied the allegations of BM Erlano.
Robles said “I am grateful to the officials of Barangay Balud del Sur (Gubat) for their participation so that, right in brgy. Hall, will be presented to us, and the statements of Catherine Esteves Ebuenga will be officially blotted out. Catherine is whom BM Ton Erlano mentions in his privilege speech.”
“According to BM Erlano, Catherine collected money from TUPAD beneficiaries, using my name. That is to say, what she’d gotten will go to me. Allegations have no basis other than text messages from unknown people, and videos that are not clear what, and who they are,” BM Robles said, trying to clear his name.
“In front of barangay officials, Catherine Ebuenga admitted that she did not know me, and that she had no connection with my office. She also didn’t know anyone in my office. At the same time, she strongly denied the allegations of BM Ton Erlano in his privilege speech last Monday,” Robles argued.
“These attempts to smear my name may not end here,” the beleaguered Board Member said.
“DOLE, PNP intervene, to probe TUPAD anomaly”
In a related development, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan decided to leave the TUPAD controversy to the Department of Labor (DOLE), which has official authority over the TUPAD program, to conduct a more credible investigation, as assisted by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Upon the release of the official result of the investigation, the proper agency will hold the real responsibles accountable.
“BM Roxan Escanilla explains”
In a related move, ex-officio BM Roxan Mendoza Escanilla, SK Federation President, broke his silence a few days after BM Erlano opened up the TUPAD “bombshell”.
“I would like to clarify the criticisms of one of our fellow Board Member regarding TUPAD,” BM Escanilla said.
“For everyone’s information, even before the payout of TUPAD workers, the DOLE agency has already conducted an investigation. But even though there is no formal conclusion to the investigation yet BM Ton has stated and implicated us members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in this issue,” Escanilla argued.
“He ( Erlano) seemed to be acquitting his staff and himself of every message when he delivered a privilege speech on Monday at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and in the media,” Escanilla said.
“For now, we are leaving to DOLE and PNP to conduct a comprehensive investigation and we support whatever action is appropriate,” the youth official said.
“I want to make it clear to everyone that I have nothing to do and especially that I have not had the slightest benefit from the TUPAD program. I do not use my position to do those things, instead I do it to help and provide services. I want you to understand that the perpetrator is due to politics, but we need to correct the wrong and reveal who is involved in all this.
I will continue to serve you because of your trust,” Escanilla strongly denied, blaming politics.