May 19, 2024

The Insider News

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Ex- Pampanga mayor may face contempt charge for leaking closed-door session info

FORMER Mayor Teddy Tumang of Mexico town in Pampanga may face a contempt charge from the House of Representatives committee on dangerous drugs for leaking information supposedly taken up during the panel’s last closed-door session last week.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, committee chairman, today said he would again invite Tumang to his panel’s next hearing on the recent seizure of more than 500 kilos of shabu worth P3.6 billion from a warehouse in Barangay San Jose Malino in Mexico.

“Executive session yun at ang napag-usapan ay tungkol sa nasabing droga na nasabat at ang mga sirkumstansiya sa pagkaka-diskubre ng 560 kilos (of shabu) at operational details na confidential in nature. Wala pong pinag-usapan tungkol sa politika,” he said.

House rules governing inquiries in aid of legislation prohibit the disclosure of any information taken up in an executive session. Disclosure may be sanctioned.

The Barbers committee went into an executive session after an open hearing on Oct. 9 to give the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the National Bureau of Information a free hand in briefing the committee on the entry into the country and seizure of the large shabu shipment in Barangay San Jose Malino.

The former Mexico mayor attended the public part of the hearing along with other former and incumbent Mexico officials.

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed Tumang in connection with a graft case.

The revelation by the former town mayor of information supposedly discussed during the closed-door session was brought to the attention of the Barbers committee.

During a press conference held on Wednesday (Oct. 11), Tumang said, “Meron akong nakausap sa mga nag iimbestiga. Meron silang executive meeting, meron silang nasabi. Ang nagtanong doon isa ang ating Deputy Speaker, tinatanong sa mga NBI yata na hindi ba talaga involved si Mayor Tumang dyan? Parang ini-implicate niya ako.” 

The former mayor further said, “Meron tayong nakausap doon, yun nga ang tanong ni Congressman. Dalawang beses pa niya tinanong. Hindi ba involved si Mayor Tumang dyan?” 

Reached for comment, Gonzales denied making the statements attributed to him by Tumang.

The committee on dangerous drugs has subpoenaed businessman Willy Ong, owner of the Barangay San Jose Malino warehouse where the P3.6 billion worth of shabu was seized, and Roy Gomez, a town hall aide of Tumang when he was mayor.

Aside from working at the municipal hall, Gomez, according to the former mayor, facilitated documents like permits for Ong.

During the Oct. 9 hearing, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said, “Nakikita ko po Mr. chair, parang yung municipality of Mexico is very privy to the activities of Mr. Willy Ong, starting from the barangay all the way up to the municipality.”

“We just want to know, huwag sana po kayong magagalit Mayor Tumang, gusto lang po naming malaman kasi dalawang beses na po sa Pampanga, sa Mexico po, and this is one of the biggest drug busts, whether officials from barangay to municipality, we are not accusing anyone yet Mayor Tumang, pero gusto po nating malaman kung involved po kayong mga local official doon sa drug bust, Mayor Tumang,” Pimentel said.