Cebu City Hall employee extorts P100,000 each from Carbon vendors, nabbed

THE officer-in-charge of Cebu City’s Market Operations Division has been arrested for extracting payment of at least P100,000 each from 50 vendors at the Carbon Public Market in exchange for a space in the redeveloped and modernized Carbon Market.

Kara Marie Bargamento y Arcilla, 29, administrative aide III of Cebu City Hall and in charge of the Market Operations Division: Carbon Freedom Park Market, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 24, 2021, in an entrapment operation at the Freedom Park market in Carbon, Cebu City when she handed the bureau’s undercover agents marked money from a complainant-vendor, the National Bureau of Investigation Central Visayas Regional Office (NBI 7) said in a statement.

The NBI 7 said Bargamento demanded payment of at least P100,000 from vendors affected by the upcoming construction of the new Carbon Market. The payment was to guarantee not only a space in the soon-to-open interim market for vendors wishing to relocate, but also a space in a prime location in the redeveloped Carbon Market.

“Bargamento has facilitated... the issuance of the Certificate of Award which gives stall rights and the right of occupancy to the would-be displaced vendors in exchange for the exorbitant fee,” the NBI 7 said.

Seized from her during the entrapment were the marked money and numerous Certificate of Rights for stalls in the relocation building and modernized Carbon Market, the bureau said.

Megawide Construction Corp., through its wholly owned subsidiary Cebu2World Development Inc., is undertaking the P5.5 billion modernization of the 112-year-old Carbon Public Market, in a joint venture with the Cebu City Government.

According to a sworn statement of Cebu City Market Supervisor Marigen Diano and Probe (Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement) officer-in-charge Raquel Arce, who had conducted their own investigation, at least 50 vendors had transacted with Bargamento.

In a video clip presented by complainants, Bargamento can be seen and heard demanding payment for stall rights from a vendor who is heard trying to negotiate to lower the amount to P80,000, which plea is denied by Bargamento, the NBI 7 said.

The bureau said since Bargamento demanded the payments from vendors of Carbon Freedom Park market and Warwick Barracks market in her official capacity as officer-in-charge of the Market Operations Division, then her act violates Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Bargamento has been charged with “violating Sec. 3 (b) (c) or RA 3019 before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office and has been subjected to inquest proceedings on Nov. 25, 2021,” the NBI 7 said.

Megawide was awarded the contract to redevelop the seven-hectare property where the Carbon Public Market stands and maintain the new development for at least 50 years, but the Cebu City Government will retain ownership of the market and will continue to oversee its operations.

The entire Carbon development will have six blocks, developed in phases, with each block housing diverse retail, food and beverage, and service features. Among the project highlights are the modernized public market, airport city check-in, a ferry terminal for water taxis and a transport terminal for all modes of land transportation.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting