Rep. David Suarez maintains innocence, says to address allegations in proper forum
MANILA (UPDATE) — Quezon Rep. David Suarez was charged with a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman over alleged unliquidated cash advances totaling P56.143 million from 2013 to 2018 during his tenure at the provincial capitol.
The complainants, who claimed to be residents of the municipalities of Catanauan and Unisan, based their accusations on the Commission on Audit (COA) reports from 2013 to 2018, as well as memoranda issued to the provincial government.
"It must also be highlighted that despite the failure to liquidate the subject cash advances, starting from 2013, respondent Suarez continuously authorized and allowed the release of case advances on a yearly basis spanning from 2013 to 2018, thereby facilitating and promoting, if not encouraging, the commission of malversation of public funds," complainants Leonito Batugon, Antonio Almoneda, Marife Benusa, and Mauro Forneste said.
Aside from graft, the complainants want the Ombudsman to investigate Suarez for possible violations of Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code or Failure of Accountable Officer to Render Accounts and Article 217 or Malversation.
The complainants also want Suarez to be held accountable for grave misconduct, dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Also included in the complaint are former provincial accountant Evangelina Ong, provincial treasurer Rosario Marilou Uy, and provincial budget officer Diego Salas.
The complainants likewise highlighted the relationship of Suarez to the incumbent Quezon governor, who happened to be his father Danilo Suarez, himself a former solon.
"There is a hundred possibility that father and son will collude between themselves to protect their political dynasty by contaminating, destroying or concealing the records supportive of the complaint or their personnel whereof they have control and supervision," the complainants said.
In a statement, Suarez expressed confidence “that the truth of our innocence will prevail” as he vowed to “address these allegations in the proper forum.”
“Our track record in public service will speak for itself… Our province's numerous awards under my stewardship, as well the improved lives of our people will prove that I have served our province and district with the highest degree of integrity, accountability, and good governance,” he said.
“It saddens me but not surprised that my political opponents have resorted to black propaganda and baseless complaints, when our attention should be solely focused on cushioning the devastating effects of the pandemic, and helping the Filipino people to get back on their feet,” he added.