The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) warned local officials against a group reportedly recruiting “appointees” to President Rodrigo Duterte’s revolutionary government.
“The so-called Peoples’ Congress is a scam … If given video evidence, they may be charged,” said Epimaco Densing III, DILG Assistant Secretary for Plans and Programs, in an online chat.
Densing, who also oversees the government’s planned shift to a federal form of government, said one of the group’s leaders, whom he identified as one Jose Roa Matias II, was claiming to be a lawyer and a relative of the President.
But he said the DILG, upon checking, found out Matias “was not even a member of the bar.”
The DILG, however, did not confirm whether Matias was related to Mr. Duterte.
In a statement posted on its website, the DILG said the group had been going around provinces bearing “dubious claims” of authority to appoint local officials to positions in the revolutionary government.
In Batangas province, the same group has been asking local officials to fill out a form, indicating their preferred positions.
The administration party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), denied any involvement in the supposed recruitment.
Kristine Balmes, PDP-Laban Batangas chapter head, said they learned about the group when it invited mayors, vice mayors and
village chiefs in the province to join a motorcade supposedly in support of Mr. Duterte last month.
Preying on officials
The Inquirer asked officials in Lipa City, the supposed venue of the motorcade, but was told that no such event took place.
In a statement, Undersecretary Catalino Cuy, DILG officer in charge, said the Peoples’ Congress may well be another group of scammers “out to prey on unsuspecting public officials who have political ambitions.”
“The least we can do is expose these scammers every time they start with their modus. There is no truth to what they are saying,” he added.
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