The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has started its investigation of the alleged anomalies involving an official of the Social Housing Finance Corp., a government-owned and controlled corporation under the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.
The NBI’s special action unit is looking into the allegation that SHFC president Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling received a P4 million check from an organized community group as payment for a property included in the SHFC’s program.
The property, located in Barangay Ilang in Bunawan District in Davao City, was owned by Cabling’s family. Cabling is also a former village chairman of Barangay Ilang.
SHFC provides housing assistance for organized communities belonging to informal settlers. The SHFC’s primary mandate is to buy home lots for homeless urban poor families.
An NBI insider said the bureau will also look into other land-buying transactions for alleged over-pricing made by Cabling for the socialized housing program of the SHFC, which reportedly has a budget of P4 billion.
Initial investigation, according to the insider who begged anonymity, revealed the modus operandi in the scam: the price of the land would be jacked up and the overprice divided among officers of the homeowners association, the land owner and “an official” of the SHFC.
Cabling, a former Davao City councilor, was appointed president of SHFC by President Rodrigo Duterte in June 2017.
The bureau is also investigating an allegation that Cabling spent P1 million in government funds to pay for two months’ stay at a posh hotel in Makati for his grassroots action team and P2 million for plane tickets for the team from Davao to Manila.
“The project in question is merely a continuation of community-initiated efforts to acquire land, which started more than a decade ago. Initial payment for the other phases of the project was made a long time ago, even before Cabling became president of SHFC,” Lorie Bundoc, SHFC strategic communications division manager.
“The transaction was between the community and the landowners. The landowners did not transact directly with SHFC. Everything went through SHFC’s regular process of loan application,” she added.
She also denied that government funds were used to pay for the hotel stay and plane fare. (with PhilStar report)