Isko ‘talo na kumita pa’

April 1, 2022 Lee Ann P. Ducusin 289 views

Manila City Hall exec: Moreno ‘misappropriating’ campaign funds

SENSING that he doesn’t have the slimmest chance of pulling the rug from under presidential front-runner Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., Isko Moreno Domagoso has allegedly started misappropriating his own campaign funds in an effort to salvage what is left for his personal account, according to sources.

A disgruntled Manila City Hall official who is part of his campaign team said Moreno “has closed the pipeline to his funds and is looking to save the bulk of the money for his personal use.”

“Sarado na ang gripo. Ito ‘yung sinasabing natalo na kumita pa,” the source said, grinning from ear to ear.

“Naalala n’yo ba yung 2016? Nang maramdaman nyang hindi siya mananalo biglang kambyo yung mama at ibinulsa yung mahigit P50 million na campaign funds. Ang katuwiran bakit daw nya uubusin eh siguradong pera na daw yun, baka maging bato pa,” the source, who was with Moreno since his vice-mayoralty days, said.

He added that a lot of Moreno’s supporters are allegedly disappointed with how the campaign is being launched because the funds have been hard to come by “although they know that some benefactors are still shelling out money.”

Earlier, Moreno admitted that he kept some P50.8 million in leftover campaign funds from his failed Senate run in 2016, asserting that there should be no problem since these were campaign contributions from various donors.

The Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer said the excess funds were aboveboard since he paid his taxes per the government’s rules.

Moreno has openly admitted that he paid P9.7 million in taxes for an income worth P50.55 million when asked about the funds.

“I had to pay taxes since there was leftover from the campaign because that was pooled money from different people. I had to declare. So that’s what I did,” he said in Filipino.

Asked where the money is now, Moreno said: “It’s with me. It’s part of my income now.”

He asserted that he did not violate any laws for “as long as I pay my taxes.”

Another source said Moreno allegedly received more than P1 billion from a well-known gambling lord who has also provided vehicles and other campaign materials.

The funds from the “Binondo Chinese Mafia” were used “sparingly in his provincial sorties but the people following him around hardly get any budget because he makes them understand that his campaign lies in the strength of volunteerism.”

Throughout his campaign, Moreno had been espousing his deprived roots, having been raised in the seedier slums of Tondo.

His wealth, however, has grown exponentially in his 24 years as a public servant. In 2007, his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth or SALN reflected a net worth of some P7.5 million.

As of October 2021, Moreno said he has a net worth of more than P70 million.

“You really have to hold on to the money if your campaign expenses were really limited and the donations were just too much. So, you have to hold on to it and just pay taxes,” he was quoted during a television interview.

In 2012, then-Manila mayor Alfredo Lim exposed that Moreno pocketed millions from his “ghost employees” and in 2014, he and 14 other city officials were charged with plunder before the Office of the Ombudsman for malversation of more than P77 million of real property taxes collected from various barangays, but allocated to only one local unit, Barangay 128.

Just recently, Moreno hit the headlines after he sold the Divisoria Public Market for P1,446,966,000 to a private company to allegedly ease the economic effects of the pandemic.

“Ang itanong nyo magkano ang kickback nya dun sa nangyaring bentahan. Magaling si Yorme magbintang na corrupt ang ilang kandidato, pero kayo na ang humusga,” the source said.

While other countries like the United States have made it illegal to pocket leftover money from electoral campaigns, the Philippines’ own laws are generally mum on what can be done with such funds.