The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability decided today to subpoena Iriga City Mayor Madelaine Alfelor and other local officials to compel them to attend the House probe into the alleged irregularities in the distribution of the emergency cash subsidy under the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
The House panel, chaired by Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, approved the motion made by Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr. to compel Alfelor’s attendance in its next hearing.
Alfelor, through her lawyer, sent a letter to the panel that “she will not be able to attend today’s meeting due to previous commitment.”
Attached to the letter is her medical certificate “attesting her underlying ailment” as well as a “certification of activities that she will be attending from Aug. 24 to Aug. 28, according to the Committee Secretariat. It said the “letter came from a law office representing the Mayor.”
“Okay, hindi na rin kayang sumulat ng Mayor (The Mayor cannot manage to write) kaya abogado na ang sumusulat (that’s why her lawyers are writing in her behalf), ComSec (Committee Secretariat),” Sy-Alvarado said.
Villafuerte said Alfelor’s reason for not attending the probe is “unacceptable” and with this, the panel should compel her attendance and other city officials by issuing a subpoena.
He recalled that during their last meeting, they asked for a certification that Alfelor is immunocompromised.
“However, in her letter sent through her lawyer, hindi po siya (not her), if I may read, sabi ng lawyer niya (her lawyer said), the medical certificate which you required was already secured by our client to indicate that our client is in good health, walang sakit (no disease) and not immunocompromised. So Mr. Chair, the client, Mayor Madel is in good health and not immunocompromised, her reason for not being here is busy daw siya (she is supposed to be busy) from Aug. 24 to 28, I think that is not acceptable, while officials of the DSWD are here, mas busy po ang DSWD (the DSWD is busier) because officials are attending nationwide. Mr. Chair, since we have given her invitation together with some officials of the city of Iriga and they didn’t not honor our invitation, may I request and move that this Committee already issue a subpoena to her for our next meeting,” VIllafuerte said.
In previous panel hearings, Villafuerte called out Alfelor for alleged violations and “gross abuse” in the distribution of emergency cash aid in Iriga City. These include the distribution of cash subsidy to ineligible beneficiaries, including her relatives; the non-wearing of face mask while out in public; and the highly-politicized manner of distributing SAP.
The Sy-Alvardo panel also decided to issue subpoena to Hagonoy, Bulacan barangay councilor Alicia Marquez.