Caloocan City Mayor Oscar “Oca” Malapitan was charged with plunder at the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged overpriced “birthday gift” packages distributed to senior citizens on their birthdays.
In her complaint, 69-year-old Teresita Manalo said Malapitan also committed grave misconduct, dishonesty, as well as violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Anti Red Tape Act.
Manalo said she hoped that Malapitan will be disqualified from seeking a second term as mayor of Caloocan City.
In her sworn statement, Manalo said she thought that the money used to purchase the birthday gifts distributed to senior citizens, valued officially at P2,000, came from Malapitan’s own pockets. However, she discovered that the funds were being sourced from the city’s own coffers.
The complainant said she also does not know where her “gifts” went to in 2014 and 2016, since she received the birthday package only in 2015.
The package included half a kilo of spaghetti noodles, half a kilo of tomato sauce, one can of corned beef, a regular packet of cheese and a small plastic container which was declared by the city government to have a value of P2,000.
But when she checked the prices of the goods at a local supermarket, Manalo found out that the total value of the goods given to senior citizens was only P200, much less than the declared P2,000 by the city council.
When Manalo began to raise questions about the amount, Malapitan’s camp allegedly posted on a Facebook page that the pack was worth P340.
Manalo said that even if the package was worth P340, there would still be a total overprice of P50 million if computed because there are 350,000 senior citizens in Caloocan City.
Other senior citizens have complained about not having received any birthday packages at all during Malapitan’s stint.
They also pointed out that the Senior Citizens Act provides that senior citizens are entitled to benefits equivalent to P500 per month as social pension, an amount that was not granted to intended beneficiaries in the city.