Vice Governor John Edward Gando said that a close relative of Gabales confirmed that the latter passed away in 2015.
The relative also revealed that Gabales was a resident of Brgy. Agsanayan, Buenavista, the same place of residence of lawyer Etik de Asis, the political arch-enemy of Nava and Gumarin.
The information, Gando said, gave credence to the suspicion that De Asis was involved in the filing of the complaint.
“Clearly, it’s a fake, politically-motivated and malicious action just to taint our names,” he stressed.
De Asis ran for the congressional post in May 2016 but lost to Nava’s wife, incumbent Representative Ma. Lucille.
Gumarin said he was confident that the plunder and technical malversation case filed against them would not prosper.
The respondents, based on the complaint, released “P264 million” in public funds days before the 2016 elections.
The move was a violation of Section 261 (v), Article XXII of the Omnibus Election Code, which “prohibits the release of public funds within 45 days before a regular election”, according to the complainant.
Gumarin said the money was not spent for election campaigns.
“It was used to fund various activities related to the celebration of the Manggahan Festival, and some projects in 2016,” he explained.
The governor also clarified that the total amount released was “P224 million”, not P264 million.
Gumarin said the provincial government allocated P99.481 million; San Lorenzo, P18.367 million; Jordan, P24.780 million; Sibunag, P17.970 million; Bienavista, P48.020 million; and Nueva Valencia, P18.130 million.
“These were reflected in the annual budget of province and the five municipalities.”
Gumarin said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) exempted them from the ban on the disbursement of public funds during the election period.
“Nagfile kami petition para maexempt kami sa ban and the Comelec approved it on May 2, 2016.”
The governor said they did not violate any law and the money was not misused.
“I’m confident that the case, kun may ara gid man, will be junked.”
Nava, meanwhile, said he was not surprised by the case filed against him.
“Normal na man lang ni kay kada maglapit ang eleksyon ginaakusahan kita kaangay sini. Daw naanad na ako,” he told reporters.
Nava said he did not understand why he was among the respondents.
“Indi na ako opisyal kag wala man ko may ginpermahan nga any document for the release of the money.”
Gando, also a lawyer, said they have not received any official document regarding the case so far.
According to him, they only knew about the case through a news article.
“We do not have any idea about the case. This is just our action of replying on the basis of that article,” Gando said.
In a report by Panay News, the Palace forwarded Gabales’ complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Kon may ara gid man, ready kami and we will cooperate sa investigation,” Gando assured.IMT