Turning the Tables on Emano

Earlier this month, Paulino Emano, mayor of Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, claimed in a television interview with GMA-7 that the South Korean firm Hanjin Heavy Industries Construction Company, Ltd. offered him $400 worth of contract in exchange for the diversion of a part of river in his town where Hanjin is constructing a shipyard.

Emano had ordered Hanjin to stop the construction for lack of required documents such as environmental compliance certificate and municipal building permit. When Mrs. Arroyo visited his province, Emano said he told Arroyo about the offer, but she said nothing about it. She even reportedly scolded him for stopping the project.

On the night that Emano’s interview was shown on TV, Malacanang — in an apparent attempt to prevent another ZTE bribery scandal — issued a statement saying that Arroyo would never violate any law. The next day, the secretary of interior appeared on TV, saying the Palace has received reports that Emano attempted to extort money from Hanjin, and he will face investigation.

Emano, an Arroyo ally, has since recanted his claim.

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