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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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Widow complains vs.
delayed benefits

The widow of the late Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod Secretary Nilo Alejandrino is complaining about the delay in the release by the Bacolod City government of her husband's benefits, a year after he passed away.

Alejandrino succumbed to pancreatic cancer on April 14, 2012, after serving the city government for 24 years.

Melba Alejandrino said yesterday that she came home (from the U.S.) to celebrate the first death anniversary and 60 th birthday of Nilo, and to collect his benefits.

She said their family finally received a partial release of his benefits from sick leave and vacation leave amounting to about P200,000. “The remaining amount will be given to us after the election being a banning period so they say,” she added, but did not specify who “they” were.

She is asking how long is the process of releasing the retirement benefits, considering that these benefits are supposed to be the ones which will sustain and give security to the retired employees. Why subject it to the election banning? she asked.

“Our grieving should have ended April 21, but with the events that are unfolding, my children and I will grieve until justice for Nilo will be achieved,” Melba Alejandrino said.

Bacolod Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson said Alejandrino's terminal pay has already been released, while his Provident Fund share is now being processed.

Sayson said Alejandrino's back pay will be released by the city. His family is claiming his back pay for the 90-days suspension he was meted, but the Civil Service Commission has rendered a decision that his suspension was valid, so this will not be included in his back pay, he said.

Melba Alejandrino said that her husband claimed that Mayor Evelio Leonardia allegedly earned millions of pesos because of the discrepancy in the real value of the land it purchased for its resettlement project in Brgy. Vista Alegre.

The transaction of the sale of the land allegedly did not pass and was not approved by the Sanggunian, which will give Leonardia authority to purchase the property, she also claimed.

Leonardia said she does not know what she is talking about. “Apparently, she is only parroting the feed of the mercenaries of our political opponents who have filed dozens of cases against us,” he said.

“I hope they are not putting words in the mouth of the dead,” he added.

For one, the price paid for the purchase of the property had been audited by the Commission on Audit and it was even below the COA valuation, Leonardia said.

“So I hope she would realize by now that she is just being used. In the first place, she had included me in her written accusations when, in fact, I was never part of the Nilo Alejandrino case because it was within the jurisdiction of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, headed by the Vice Mayor and a distinct and independent branch from my office,” he said.

Leonardia said there was never even his signature in any of the papers involving the case of the late Nilo Alejandrino because he was not party to the process.

Melba Leonardia also claimed that upon her husband's revelation and signed certification of the sale of the Arao property, he was a marked man by the Mayor and his company and targeted for removal from his position as SP Secretary.

Leonardia said he was not even aware that Nilo signed something like that. These are just products of machinations, he said.

She said her husband was suspended on December 2011, dismissed on February 2012 and because of stress and depression, died on April 14, 2012.

The case against Nilo Alejandrino had stemmed from the chair-throwing incident involving him and Councilor Caesar Distrito who had filed charges against him.

Meanwhile, Melba's lawyer, Ed Tuclaud, said they are contemplating to file criminal cases against Councilor Distrito for filing two cases against Nilo Alejandrino before the Office of the Vice Mayor and before the Ombudsman, which is considered forum shopping.

Asked for his comment, Distrito said that is just politicking and not to be taken seriously. “Don't they have any other issue?” He asked.

Distrito said the Ombudsman even stated that there is probable cause to warrant the filing of a criminal case against the late Nilo Alejandrino. The CSC even said that Alejandrino is guilty but they just modified the findings of the Vice Mayor's Office, he added.

Distrito said it is a pity that a dead person is being used to advance the political interest of the political opponents of Sayson.

“The one who said that (referring to Tuclaud) stands both as a lawyer of the Alejandrino family and the MKK. So, let the public judge their actions,” he said.*CGS







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