Letter addressed to Ms. Constancia “Nene” Lichauco , Chairwoman Barangay Bel-Air

Via Aurora Pijuan

Dear Ms. Constancia “Nene” Lichauco
Barangay Bel-Air

We believe you will be running for the Chairmanship of Barangay Bel-Air again. It is fair to expect that you will run on a platform of governance that is not only efficient but one of TRANSPARENTCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. Indeed, it is only then that you invest the Chairmanship with the trust it deserves.

We, your constituents, are proud of our Barangay being among the wealthiest villages. Our annual budget approaches P200 million, derived from our share in Real Property Taxes (RPT), clearances, IRA, Community Tax Certificate (CTC) payments and other miscellaneous sources such as interest from investments and payment of IDs.

You will then understand why our Barangay affairs and interests concern us.

Of late, we had been bothered by the Manila Times three-article series written by Assignments Editor, Joel M. Sy Egco, posted at http://manilatimes.net/graft-bel-air-style/34329/ (August 28, 2013, 11:00 pm).

Those articles said that criminal and administrative cases have been filed against you and other respondents for having allegedly committed various acts involving millions of Barangay funds that violated:

1. RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) Sec. 3 (e) by giving undue advantage to Two Chefs “through evident bad faith, manifest partiality or, at the very least, through gross inexcusable negligence.

2. Revised Penal Code, Article 171, paragraph 4 (falsification by public officer/employee by making untruthful statements in a narration of facts) when you issued the Price Canvass reports, Abstract of Canvass and Award, Purchase request “which showed that a personal canvass was conducted for the purpose of securing a service contract when in fact there was none.”

3. Revised Penal Code, Article 171, paragraph 4 “when she signed the service contract stating that she is authorized to act in behalf of the barangay when in fact there is no showing from the records that she is indeed authorized.”

4. RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) Sec. 3 (h), which prohibits officials from “directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest.”

We cannot help but wonder at the veracity of these articles as they seem to have been based on the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) branch in Makati City and of Associate Graft Investigative Officer 3 Janice O. Baltazar of the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO), which have been extensively quoted.

Associate Graft Investigative Officer 3 Janice O. Baltazar was even quoted as saying the respondents, including you, “could be liable for serious dishonesty, grave misconduct, falsification of official document and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service under the rules of the Civil Service Commission.”

It was also disturbing to read from the articles that the favoured food provider that had been doing business with our Barangay officials for years, Two Chefs Corp., ‘was’ owned by your daughter-in-law, Patricia Warren. Perhaps it still is?

The articles have it that Two Chefs Corp. was SEC-registered “in October 1996, with a capital stock of only P10,000” and “the Lichaucos are listed as the original incorporators. Four of them —Francisco Jr., Ma. Theresa, German and Ma. Liza—have the same home address, 17 Aquarius St., Bel-Air” the same address as yours, we believe.

The articles also suggest — and the COA & Ombudsman seem to support it — that the services offered by your daughter-in-law’s Two Chefs Corporation “were more expensive, if not more blatantly illegal, since the money used to pay the contracts came from your own discretionary funds.” In particular, the articles say, the “bulk of the discretionary fund that was released to the barangay chieftain would represent payment to Two Chefs Corp. in the amount of P404,560” as shown in the “Summary of Expenses for the month of April & May 2003” which you yourself supposedly “noted”, apparently in reference to “several meetings of the Pasinaya committee, dancers, choir and rehearsals between April 4 and May 25.”

The articles also pointed the following:

“ …a Land Bank check for P547 million and bearing account number 000052-1309-05 was issued to “CONSTANCIA Q. LICHAUCO.”

The article also said that what is odd in this transaction is that under the “Summary of Expenses for the month of April & May 2003” that was approved by Lindo and “noted” by Lichauco herself, bulk of the discretionary fund that was released to the barangay chieftain would represent payment to Two Chefs Corp. in the amount of P404,560.

Moreover, the article claims, you allegedly paid Two Chefs ( Patricia Warren Lichauco) P280T for a “fake Assembly,” to wit:

“Fake assembly

On December 28, 2006, Lichauco again requested the approval of ROA No. 00-61-376 representing payment of P280,000 to Two Chefs for “foods served on official activities.”

Finally, did you really allow “flying” voters to cast their ballots in your precinct? The Manila Times articles claim that “another set of documents shows that 42 other people are listed as residents in Lichauco’s house on 17 Aquarius Street, Bel-Air.” All the names are listed in the article, including that of Roberto Orendain Gaa, a priest. If you were surpirsed to learn about this, as a governemnt ofificial, what did you do about it?

And how true is it that even our Barangay Hall at 40 Solar Street serves as the registered home address to 30 other voters? Since when was the barangay office a residence? The articles also have a list of their names.

We would appreciate hearing the truth from you. We wish you no ill will, but we wish these concerns to be addressed so that our votes would not be frustrated. And they will be frustrated if we re-elect you, only to see you removed by the Courts for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and The Revised Penal Code.

Thank you.

You Barangay Bel-Air Constituents

Also read her letter to the barangay kagawads.

Here are the series of Manila Times feature.

Graft Bel-Air Style

Barangay Bel-Air chairman used ‘pork’ to pay favored caterer

Bel-Air: P45M for ‘direct’, ‘negotiated’ contracts