Ex-Cebu mayor asks Ombudsman to probe fire department

Justin K. Vestil

FORMER City of Naga mayor Valdemar Chiong has urged the Office of the Ombudsman to probe the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) following the anti-graft court's decision to indict him for graft charges.

Chiong, in an interview with SunStar Cebu, said it was the BFP national headquarters who derailed the issuance of the permit, prompting his office to issue a temporary mayor's permit to Petronas Energy Philippines, a wholesaler of liquefied petroleum gas.

“Ako ang nag-suffer tungod kay ang BFP walay klarong desisyon sa pag-issue og fire safety permit sa Petronas,” Chiong said on Friday, August 4.

He said he issued a conditional business permit to Petronas since they are still appealing before the BFP to approve their application for fire safety permit.

Choing added that the local and regional BFP offices approved Petronas' request for fire safety permit but was derailed in the national headquarters after one of the firm's competitors questioned the issuance.

The mayor's daughter, incumbent city Mayor Kristine Chiong, eventually issued a business permit to Petronas after the BFP approved the firm's application for a fire safety permit.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales found probable cause to indict the former mayor for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act or Republic Act 3019 before the Sandiganbayan.

The former mayor was found guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty, perpetually barring him from public service.

Chiong said he will appeal the case. (SunStar Cebu)