Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya—Six more women vegetable farmers from Villaverde town have joined 16 others in filing an estafa charge against Provincial Board Member Roland Carub and several others with the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office here.
The six women, all members of TIBIK (Timpuyog Ti Babbalasang Idi Kalman, an Ilocano phrase that translates to “Association of Ladies in an Earlier Season”), filed their sworn statements and complaints with the PPO on August 4.
They are accusing Carub and officers of the Cebu Multi-Purpose Cooperative Solano Branch of swindling them of funds in the guise of membership fees in the cooperative so they could secure loans from several government agencies, which never developed.
Apart from Carub, included in the complaint are Arsenio B. Marinas -- the municipal agriculturist of Villaverde town also in Nueva Vizcaya -- and Estrella Marinas, Nora Reyes, Rosalia Aliste, Cely Valdez, and a certain Army and James.
The others are staffers of the Cebu Co-op, with office address at 29 Yogad St., Carub Building, Brgy. Quirino in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, a structure owned by the provincial board member’s family.
The 16 members of TIBIK’s Ambaguio Chapter had filed their sworn affidavits of complaints against Carub last July 20 at the PPO.
In an earlier radio interview, Carub defended himself, saying the applications for the loans from several agencies were processed by Cebu Co-op, “but the government procedures are very slow, that’s why until now the loans are not yet granted.”
Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla and the Provincial Board or Sangguniang Panlalawigan have yet to issue statements on the matter.
Zenaida Tayaban, TIBIK Chapter President from Barangay Sawmill in Villaverde town, told the Standard the six new women farmers filed their complaints after hearing Carub say on Radio Veritas-Bayombong on July 28 that Cebu Co-op would release the loans to their group, which did not happen.
“Carub lied on the radio. He was referring to a meager P2,000 petty cash loan only, not the promised P50,000 to P100,000 from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Program worth P20,000 or the Department of Agriculture (DA) Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) fund,” Tayaban said.
Like their fellow TIBIK members in Ambaguio, these loans were why they were enticed to enlist with Cebu Co-op and form the workers’ association in their barangay, she added.
In her sworn affidavit, Tayaban recounted that Carub, Emilia Marinas, and Cely Valdez arrived in their barangay on October 20, 2018 and organized TIBIK.
They ordered all TIBIK members to construct their “kubo-kubo” or makeshift huts for office and sleeping purposes, citing a contest or search for the most beautiful hut in the province, which the winner would garner P25,000.
Tayaban said she shelled out P50,000 for the construction of the TIBIK Villaverde association’s hut.
“Estrella Marinas and Cely Valdez gave me and 44 members of Sawmill Chapter PLEA loan forms and asked us all to pay P350 each (for them). We were able to collect P15,400 and we gave it to Marinas,” she said.
“While I was giving all the monies collected from our group, I asked Estrella Marinas where our monies are going, and she told me that P4,400 would be given to Villaverde Municipal Agriculturist Arsenio B. Marinas so that he would endorse and sign our loan forms, while the rest of the monies would be used as processing fees,” Tayaban added.
After the 2019 local elections, tired of waiting for their loans to be paid out, Tayaban said she and her group went to the cooperative office to retrieved their monies, but Carub told them the P15,400 were given to Cebu Co-op as part of their capital shares.
Meanwhile, Erlinda Valdez Parinas, another lady barangay leader, stated that Carub convinced her personally to organize a TIBIK chapter in Barangay Ocapon, Villaverde on February 10, 2019.
On February 27 the same year, Parinas said Estrella Marinas brought to her to the DOLE Field Office to register the Ocapon TIBIK chapter. Estrella Marinas endorsed her to Gerardo Nicolas, Senior Labor and Employment Officer (LEO), without any orientation for the group in Barangay Ocapon, Parinas said.
On March 18, 2019, Parinas said Carub conducted the orientation for the Ocapon group at the gymnasium in Villaverde town.
“I gave (Estrella) Marinas our collection of P7,000 for membership and processing fees, and asked her about our application for PLEA loans with the DA. Marinas told me she gave our applications to the municipal agriculture officer, Arsenio Marinas,” she told the Standard.
In his Radio Veritas interview, Carub admitted to contacting DOLE personnel regarding their registrations with the national government agency and paying a visit to Municipal Agriculturist Marinas of Villaverde.
Carub said Marinas merely explained to him all about PLEA Loans. The provincial board member has yet to give his official statement on the complaints against him.
Meanwhile, Lea Buhangik, chapter president of TIBIK-Ambaguio who led the 16 women in filing the first complaint against Carub, reiterated that she would pursue the charges against him, Cebu Co-op branch manager Nora Reyes, and three others.
Buhangik told the Standard Reyes had called her on August 3 to ask her to sign a desistance affidavit that would negate her complaint with the provincial prosecutor.
“I scheduled an emergency meeting and inquired on the stand of my members with regards to this new development, but my colleagues stood firm on their resolve for a court battle,” she said.
Buhangik said she went to the provincial DOLE office last May 12 to approach Froctoso Agustin, then OIC of DOLE Nueva Vizcaya, to inquire on the department’s loan programs.
This meeting solidified her apprehensions over the loan promises and the collected fees of their organizers to some members of the TIBIK association, she said.