DAVAO CITY, Philippines – In Duterte territory, everybody has to follow the law—even those who make them.
Unfortunately, two out-of-town councilors found that out the hard way when authorities arrested one of them for selling counterfeit certificates and receipts and fining the other one for flouting an anti-smoking ordinance.
Also, the driver of councilor Alma Moreno was also flagged down after he was caught breaking the city’s max speed limit of 30 kph in the downtown area.
The offending councilors were among the 4,000 local legislators attending the Philippine Councilors’ League (PCL) national convention in the city.
Arrested for selling the fake documents was Sergio Antigua Batistis Jr., councilor of Albuera town in Leyte.
He was caught red-handed in a sting operation by authorities inside the city’s SMX Convention Center after he finished a transaction with General Santos Councilor Dominador Lagara III who acted as a poseur-buyer.
Recovered from him were fake documents, a cell phone, and P103,500 which were believed to be the proceeds from his illegal activities.
According to the League’s executive director Wilson Paclibar, Batistis’ illicit acts had been reported in previous PCL events.
He added the PCL will file criminal and administrative raps against Batistis and his cohorts.
For his part, Batistis admitted to the crime in his jail cell but refused to elaborate further since a case had been filed against him.
However, Supt. Royina Garma of the Sta. Ana police and leader of the entrapment operation said Batistis earlier admitted that he procured the counterfeit papers from Davao City itself.
In apprehending Batistis, Moreno—the PCL’s national chair—hoped that it would send a strong signal to her fellow councilors that the League was serious in reforming its ranks.
Commenting on Batistis’ arrest as well as the doling out of fines on one councilor and Moreno’s driver, Davao City Police chief Vicente Danao said it would show the rest of the country that their city is serious with its laws.
“That’s good,” he remarked.