By Francis Allan L. Angelo

ILOILO Governor Niel D. Tupas Sr. may be liable to pay penalties to the Iloilo City government for constructing a house worth P3.5 million sans necessary permits.

Engr. Jose Tenco of the Iloilo City Zoning Board of Adjustment and Appeals said Tupas will be fined P5,000 for failure to secure locational clearance for the 2-story residential building being constructed beside his mansion at MV Hechanova, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Based on a copy of Tupas’ application for locational clearance, the residential building has a total project cost of P3,540,154.50. It is constructed on a 320-square meter lot inside the governor’s compound in Jaro.

Tupas admitted over Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo that the construction of the 2-story building has already begun for more than a week. He also said that they only submitted the application for locational clearance last October 19.

Tenco said they investigated the project site and found out that the construction has begun sans the locational and building permit.

The locational clearance is a pre-requisite to the building permit which must be secured from the Iloilo City Engineer’s Office (CEO).

Tenco said that aside from paying fines to the zoning board, CEO can also fine Tupas.

The CEO can also order Tupas to stop the construction until he has secured the necessary permits. Worse, the city government can file charges against the governor for violating the building code and relative local ordinances.

Incidentally, Tupas youngest son, Nielex Tupas is an Iloilo City councilor.

The new house being constructed in the Tupas compound was the subject of an investigative report by The Daily Guardian’s photojournalist Tara Yap.

Yap went to MV Hechanova to verify the information and take pictures of the construction project.

But caretakers of the Tupas mansion accosted Yap before she could take pictures and confiscated her camera, cellphones and bag.

The caretakers also detained Yap inside the Tupas mansion for more than 20 minutes.