>Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s exercise of raw power (8)
Posted on September 6th, 2009
Author: Pet Melliza, The Beekeeper, ☼ IloiloViews
Libat Dos had some misgivings against Libat Uno and was compelled to express it during the meeting of their group in a house just across the PNP station at Igbaras, Iloilo.
He was aggrieved with the latter for skimming off a substantial amount from his share in the operation to kick out the municipal treasurer and the private secretary to the mayor.
The latter was all denial but Libat Dos countered that the source of the fat mullah herself told him of the specific amount he was entitled to.
Libat Uno muttered back that he needed the amount and anyway, it was him who took the pain of contacting the benefactor who sent the largesse with the instruction to deliver five-digit amounts respectively to contacts in the Office of the Ombudsman – Region 6 and the Bureau of Local Government Finance to execute the order of dismissal on the two employees who were ordered dismissed from service in January 5, 2009 yet in a farcical decision penned by Virginia Palanca-Santiago, the embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia who should be remembered in history forever for abetting corruption and oppressing the innocent using her very office.
Libat Uno is a jobless parasite who lives off the sweat of his elders abroad while Libat Dos is known to have been forbidden from leaving the country after it was discovered that he had worked for a company in the Land of Pablo Escobar that exported frozen fish to the Land of the Brave stuffed with cocaine.
Libat Uno and Libat Dos are among the pillars of the graftwatch club who, like their patroness Virginia Palanca-Santiago, are good at turning a blind eye on big time cases of thievery but are too quick to pounce on ordinary functionaries, even to the point of filing baseless charges on the innocent and have them convicted by the Office of the Ombudsman in exchange for cash.
They might have the knack to twist or invent facts but there are strong reasons to believe that Libat Uno and Libat Dos could be telling the truth this time during their tiff when they boasted that the reason for the swift operation last August 18 to oust Igbaras municipal treasurer Cynthia Cabañero and private secretary to the mayor, Pio Elumba, was the fat mullah they delivered to the local offices of the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) and the Ombudsman.
Their BLGF contact owns a palatial residence in Jaro, bigger than neighboring houses of regional directors, businessmen, military officers and RTC judges, with materials identical to the ones used in the old capitol building.
The moral depravity of this official may be gleaned through her family: one child of hers is fathered by a man other than her husband. Years back, a government employee visiting a public prosecutor friend in a hotel in Manila had a shock of his life seeing her on the bed in a night dress.
While, it may be difficult to prove some palms were greased in the local Office of the Ombudsman, circumstances are plenty to show who those people are.
One, the gang of Libat Uno and Libat Dos, also known as a pack of charlatans masquerading as graftbusters, are good sources of information especially that they are cousins to one of their victims.
The charlatans sued Igbaras mayor Jaime Esmeralda et al for pocketing P1 million in a “ghost” road gravelling project April 2004, and had as supporting documents thick wads of affidavits from residents who denied having seen sand and gravel delivered, much less heavy equipment grading the road from January through April 2005. The sworn statements are identical, lifted from a single template with only the personal circumstances of the affiants varying.
The Ombudsman-Visayas sent quack investigator Roderick Blazo in September 2004 to the sites – two mountain roads with 4.7 kilometers to be graveled.
Blazo found traces of implementation and it could have been a strong basis to trash the ghost project yarn but the quack investigator switched theory by concluding that the project was substandard. According to him some portions of the road had no gravel while some portions had excess quantity of the filling materials. Still, some segments of the roads were narrower than the standard and the gravel-surface was below the one-inch thickness standard. (He is not only a quack investigator but a quack engineer as well. He was inspecting a road re-gravelling done five months earlier but he applied the strict standards for asphalting or concreting.)
There were culverts, steel bars and bags of cement in one junction awaiting installing for drainage.
The four-page Blazo report in highly belabored English did not dig deeper as to why the condition of the mountain roads deteriorated or why the bags of cement solidified. He swiftly concluded Esmeralda, Cabañero and Elumba guilty of dishonesty and misconduct.
The municipal engineer who prepared the “program of works”, the budget officer who attested to the appropriated amount, the accountant who verified that all documents were in order, were spared.
The municipal treasurer certified to the availability of funds which was her mandate. She and Elumba also signed the documents attesting to the deliveries by contractors of sand and gravel and the materials for the drainage canal.
The report gives Blazo away as a quack investigator. He failed to reckon the following facts: a) part of the P1 million was spent for the culverts, cement, steel bars and the P150,000 for labor which was still intact. In other words, the amount spent for the gravelling was only a little over P500,000; b) such amount is insufficient to cover 4.7 kilometers of mountain roads; c) the inspection was done only after five months when the rains already eroded the mountain passages.
Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s act of convicting the innocent reminds us of mercenaries carrying out the orders of their paymaster. The ghost project yarn had no leg to stand on but she still dished out yet another farcical conclusion that Cabañero and Elumba were the ones who signed the “inspection reports” when they were not qualified to do so, and the other, that they did so while keeping municipal engineer Anastacio Escobido in the dark.
First off, all that the mercenary had to do so was review the documents submitted by the complainant itself. What the two signed were not inspection reports, but delivery receipts that indeed sand and gravel and the construction materials were delivered.
The mercenary was determined to convict the innocent anyway because she ignored the audit report signed by COA regional director Innocencio Cabahug who went to the site and saw traces of implementation. He declined to render a conclusive assessment “due to the lapse of time” that already altered the condition of the roads.
The COA report is countersigned by municipal engineer Escobido, thus, disproving the Blazo report that says he (Escobido) was ignorant of the graveling project. The engineer did not execute any affidavit and all that the mercenary has relied on to reach that farcical conclusion is the Blazo report, which, in that regard is hearsay, thus, inadmissible in evidence. (to be continued)