City Legal Officer Melchor Carlos Rabanes dismissed as pure lies and welcomed any check on his lifestyle if only to prove wrong the accusations being hurled towards him.
Rabanes was reported to be facing complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly receiving bribes from government contractors and vendors’ cooperatives.
Three complaints, which Rabanes claimed are all fictitious, have been filed before the Ombdusman. All accused him of committing graft and corrupt practices.
One complaint dated April 24 by Angelo dela Peña, a member of the Samahan ng mga Kontratista sa Cordillera (SKC) who is working for the approval of a water system in the city, alleged that Rabanes was guaranteed a share in the income.
But SKC is said to be a fictitious organization since there are only two accredited organizations of contractors in the region, the United Baguio-Benguet Contractors Association and the Contractors Against Crime and Corruption.
Dela Peña accused Rabanes of maintaining a dummy who had been receiving for him eight percent share from the water system deal since 2010. But Rabanes said, “I do not prepare contracts for contractors, landowners or businessmen. While the City Legal Office reviews contracts for signing of the city mayor, no fees or charges are imposed.”
Rabanes also dismissed as untrue complaints that he received bribes for the undertaking of a feasibility study on a new water supply system conducted by an Australian firm and continued to receive bribes from the purchase of equipment. “That Australians have done a project study on water supply in Baguio City is a fiction. I never dealt with any Australian from whom I allegedly asked money. I do not extort. I earn my bread earnestly,” he said.
Another complainant, Asucena Pawid, who claims to be an officer of the Samahan ng mga Tindera/Trading Post Benguet Baguio, accused the legal officer of collecting sums of money from them through a collector.
“There is no association known as TODA. Allegations that I own vehicles and lands coming from the cooperative are ridiculous,” he added. “I only have a 2003 Honda CRV which I bought from my own savings.”
Rabanes who said he is yet to receive formal summons from the Ombudsman, said he has been leading a clean and honest public life. “Being a career service professional, my service underscores public interest, and not on political considerations,” he said.
Rabanes had been the assistant city legal officer for years and is currently the OIC city legal officer.
It was reported earlier that he refused appointment as city legal officer as it was an appointment done by a political leader. He was also earlier said to prefer being an assistant considering it is a permanent status, being a civil service position.
Rabanes said the lies may have been prompted by those thinking ill of him, his position, and present and past stances of the City Legal Office on land and other disputes in the city.