BY PET MELLIZA
Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s exercise of raw power (18)
Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s unusual haste to “solve” the case People’s Graftwatch of Iloilo versus jaime Esmeralda, et al, invites suspicion. Even while the answer of Esmeralda et al were in transitu to Cebu, they already received a six-month preventive suspension order dated March 14, 2005.
It was signed by then Ombudsman for the Visayas Primo Miro but there is strong reason to believe that it was the handiwork of his assistant, Virginia Palanca-Santiago, who was already Western Visayas Director of the office based in Iloilo City.
At that time, Miro, already too debilitated by an illness aggravated by his alcohol habit, was no longer in charge. He had one trait – he could not write a single English sentence without incurring a hundred crimes against grammar and logic. The one de facto running the show than was Virginia Palanca-Santiago.
There were far more grave cases of corruption bedevilling Iloilo like the multi-million peso equipment scandal involving TESDA Director Agosto “Boboy” Syjuco who was then congressman of Iloilo’s second district. Further, Iloilo City taxpayers bristled with rage at the P130-million “Pavia housing scandal” involving Jerry Trenas, incumbent mayor and now congressional candidate for the city,
Provincial administrator Manuel “Boy” Mejorada sued Syjuco before the Ombudsman in 2003; Trenas et al were slapped charges for the housing fiasco in 2003 yet but Virginia Palanca-Santiago preferred to sleep on them.
Her haste in imposing the 6-month preventive suspension on Esmeralda et al, her deliberate act of rigging her decision, her vicious disregard of facts including those presented by the complainant itself, and her willful defiance of the Supreme Court, all show something smelly in her character.
The Supreme Court in Ombudsman versus Samaniego rules that a timely motion for reconsideration suffices to stay the order of the Ombudsman. The decision came on September 11, 2008 but she skirted that and ordered another foul character at the Bureau of Local Government Finance to execute her order of dismissal on Esmeralda’s co-respondents, municipal treasurer Cynthia Cabanero and private secretary to the mayor Pio Elumba.
Indeed the reason why the Ombudsman Iloilo office stinks is because of the likes of virginia Palanca-Santiago who makes a mockery of the law. She ignores big time cases of corruption while paying inordinate interest and haste in resolving petty cases even to the point of issuing farcical decisions and punishing innocent persons or depriving them of their constitutional right to due process, of defending themselves against their accusers, in this case, the cabal of charlatans coddled by her.
The confrontasi between Libar Uno and Libat Dos August 21, 2009, merely confirmed public suspicion of Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s palms having been greased. Her disappearance from the Iloilo office since this space ran a series unmasking her, indicates admission of guilt due to flight when she should have confronted this writer to assert her innocence.
To recall, Libat Dos, former henchman of Columbia drug Lord Pablo Escobar, grumbled why Libat Uno skimmed off the mullah sent by their expat financier, their supposed reward for having moved Virginia Palanca-Santiago to execute her order of execution earlier that month. Libat Uno, a middle-aged parasite living off the money sent by his siblings, answered he deserved more because the benefactor was his own sister.
Libat Dos countered he deserved more because that was specified by the benefactor for his act delivering the mullah to the local office of the Ombudsman.
Our elders taught us: “magpanabi-tabi anay agud indi makasandad”, that is, when you’re in strange places, be careful, say “tabi” so to avoid collision with the “tag-lugar”. Virginia Palqanca-Santiago, a Visayan herself who understands the word “tabi”, apparrently ignored that. She did not realize that a faction of the charlatans were close kins of one her victims. Despite strained relations, communication lines between the charlatans and Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s quarries have not been totally severed.
That’s how the confrontasi between Libat Uno and Dos reached her victims, thereby confirming public suspicion that indeed money changed hands in the dismissal of the two employees of the Municipality of Igbaras, Iloilo.
We are repeating what we have been crying throughout in this space: Virginia Palanca-Santiago, assistant ombudsman for the Visayas and, also, head of its regional office in Iloilo City, should not be allowed to exit into retirement incognito. She must be investigated for corruption.