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‘Davao Group’ in tatters? Pulong kicks out Abellera from Davao Council after ‘friend’ refused to resign

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A key player in the alleged “Davao Group” of smugglers has been kicked out of the Davao City Council by his friend, Vice Mayor Pulong Duterte.

The Davao City Council on Tuesday stripped Councilor Nilo “Small” Abellera, his friend, of all committee chairmanships and memberships for incurring absences due to health problems.

In a report by Philippine News Agency. Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte said the city council was compelled to remove Abellera in order for his committeed to continue functioning.

Abellera, the chair of the Committee on Peace and Order and vice chair of Public Works, was tagged by customs “fixer” Mark Taguba as the “Small” in the so-called “Davao Group” who received the P5 million “enrollment fee” meant for the presidential son to facilitate the processing of his container imports.

“We cannot leave the committee vacant because he is absent. There are a lot of things to do and needs to be done,” the vice mayor said in an interview.

Duterte said he talked to Abellera to convince him to file a resignation. But the councilor declined which forced Duterte’s hand to eject him out instead.

“Councilor (Bernard) Al-ag is constantly talking to him, however, he did not file any resignation. We’ve advised him to file a resignation, especially that his committee (Peace and Order) is very crucial, the whole city depends on it,” Dutere said.

Recently, Abellera skipped city council sessions due to health reasons. He also failed to attend two senate hearings on the controversial P6.4 million illegal drugs smuggled into the country.

Since Abellera’s name was dragged into the smuggling issue, he only attended the regular session once.

“We understand that he is sick and he needs to attend the senate hearing, but we cannot leave the job vacant. The council needs to work,” Vice Mayor Duterte said.

In the Seate hearing, Taguba claimed he was required to pay P10,000 per container or an estimated P1-million fee per week after paying the enrollment feet to Abellera. In their face-of at the Senate probe last Aug. 31 to face off, Abellera confirmed meeting Taguba in Davao but that he left after five to ten minutes.

Taguba maintained that he gave Abellera P5 million in a Lacoste bag during the meeting arranged by a certain “Jack”, the alleged handler of the presidential son. Both Taguba and Abellera claimed not knowing the real name of Jack.

Duterte clarified that Abellera would still be a councilor of Davao City.

“When he returns to office, then we can talk about his chairmanship, for now, someone needs to take over,” he said.

Replacing Abellera is Councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta as committee chair of Peace and Order, Vice Chair of Public Works and Highways, and member of the committees on International Affairs, Barangay Affairs, Finance, Ways and Means, Education, and Tourism. (PNA)