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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Palace orders top LLDA officials to explain extortion allegation


Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Wednesday said that top officials of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) have been ordered to explain why they should not face administrative disciplinary proceedings following allegations of extortion.

Ochoa said a show-cause order had been issued on Monday against LLDA General Manager Rodrigo Cabrera, Engineering Division Chief Donato Rivera Jr. and Lake Management Division Head Jacqueline Dabu based on the accusation of fish pen owner Dr. Charlie Tan that the three tried to extort money from him.

Tan alleged that Cabrera and two other LLDA officials demanded "P300,000.00 in exchange for the approval of his request to transfer the locations of his fish pens" – a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act (RA 3019) and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713).

The three were given five days from the receipt of the show cause order to submit their comment to the Office of the Executive Secretary.

The Office of the President exercises jurisdiction over Cabrera, who is a presidential appointee. Rivera and Dabu, while not presidential appointees, are covered by the order "for having allegedly acted in conspiracy" with Cabrera.

Last Friday, Cabrera took a 60-day leave from office in order to give the Office of the President "a free hand in the conduct of a fair and unprejudiced investigation."

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