FORMER Pasay City (Metro Manila) congressman Lito Roxas is planning to sue incumbent Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto over the latter’s alleged “plunderous projects” in the city.
In a recent media huddle, Roxas, who is gunning for the mayoral seat in the 2016 polls, said Calixto “mismanaged” the finances of Pasay City, resulting in poor social services.
Among Calixto’s projects that he deemed questionable were the repaint/repair of Pasay City General Hospital (with an estimated cost of P135 million), Malibay Gym (P300 million), Barangay Hall of Barangay 179 (P300 million), Health Center of Barangay 2 (P300 million) and Pasay City Hall (P400 million).
He cited a report of the Commission on Audit (COA) showing that target tax collection continues to dip from P2.9 billion in 2009 to P2.6 to P2.7 from 2011 to 2012 and P2.8 in 2013.
“Nanahimik ako nang matagal. Kaya lang, hindi ko na matiis. Naging ama ako ng lungsod bilang dating congressman. Hindi ko matiis ang aking mga kababayan na naghihirap kaya po ako lumabas ngayon [I kept quiet for a long time. But as a former congressman and father of this city, I cannot bear to see my people suffering from poverty that’s why I’m coming out now],” Roxas said.
Meanwhile, Pasay City incumbent Vice Mayor Marlon Pesebre joined Roxas as his running mate in a bid to unseat Calixto.
Roxas is running under United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay while Pesebre is a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition that is said to be endorsing the presidential bid of Sen. Grace Poe.
Roxas and Pesebre admitted that they differ in principles on national politics but both agreed and are one in the opinion that Pasay leadership needs change.
Both said they would reconcile those differing principles by focusing on local politics while campaigning for their respective national candidates.
“Our common goal is to bring change in Pasay City,” Roxas said, adding that the city under Calixto’s five-year reign is allegedly a dismal failure.
Sought for his reaction, Calixto, who is seeking reelection for his third term under the Liberal Party, dismissed Roxas’ allegations, saying they are just part of political mudslinging this election season.
“Well, actually ’yung mga nagsasabi ng ganon ay kailangan patunayan nila at ako naman ay nakahandang humarap kahit kanino at ako po ay handang magpaliwanag [I challenge my critics to prove their allegations and I am ready to explain my side to anyone],” he noted.
In 2012, Calixto, along with 10 other city officials, faced corruption charges for allegedly entering into an anomalous garbage collection and disposal contract.
The Office of the Ombudsman eventually dismissed the complaint for lack of legal and factual basis.