BY PET MELLIZA, The Beekeeper
Virginia Palanca-Santiago, assistant ombudsman for the Visayas and concurrently, head of its regional office in Western Visayas, recycled an administrative and criminal complaint against Rep. Niel “Jun-jun” C. Tupas, Jr. (LP, 5th district, Iloilo) who had hounded her former boss Merceditas Gutierrez, the latter lately learned.
She ordered the solon, who had led the move to kick-out Gutierrez via impeachment, to answer in ten days the complaint filed by a relative of the lawmaker.
Gutierrrez resigned on April 30, from public pressure and disgrace that catapulted to fame her chief tormentor, Rep. Tupas.
The complaint was lodged on Jun-jun Tupas in 2008 yet. Notwithstanding his reelection to the Lower House in May 2010, that warranted the dismissal of the administrative action motu proprio, Palanca-Santiago’s order still implies as if the administrative aspect of the complaint still holds on.
Worse, in ordering Tupas to file an answer, Palanca-Santiago usurps the power of her immediate superior Pelagio Apostol, Jr., deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas who dismissed the complaint two years back.
Virginia Palanca-Santiago not only usurped the power vested on Apostol. She has no power to review, much less reverse the order of an immediate superior. She de facto anointed herself the power of review that RA 6770 vests on the Ombudsman alone.
Sources say that Tupas got the order for him to answer the complaint only after Gutierrez stepped down. Based on the hierarchy of command, the next in line of succession is Orlando Casimiro, the overall deputy ombudsman.
That’s not the first time that Virginia Palanca-Santiago defied the Ombudsman rules and usurped the power of Apostol. In August 2009, she single-handedly carried out the order of dismissal on two municipal employees of Igbaras, Iloilo in Omb.-V-C-05-0014-A and Omb.-V-A-05-00114-A, despite the filing by the respondents of a timely motion for reconsideration.
Apostol repeatedly called her up and her agents on mobile phone to stop the execution of the order of dismissal due to the timely motion for reconsideration, but she ignored him.
This is the 31st in the series already and your Beekeeper has been calling throughout that Virginia Palanca-Santiago, embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia, a moral pygmy whose sense of right and wrong is as revolting as her looks, must be investigated for corruption.
She rigged her decision against Esmeralda, et al. Her victims were charged by political rivals coddled by Palanca-Santiago, for pocketing P1 million in a “ghost project” road repair in Igbaras in April 2004. Her own investigator, Roderick Blazo, who went to Igbaras in November 2004, saw traces of implementation that was sufficient to trash the thick wads of affidavits of complainant’s witnesses. The affidavits, all lifted from a single template with only their personal circumstances differeing, all pointed to the ghost project theory.
Records which are also at the disposal of Virginia Palanca-Santiago showed that P512,295.56 were spent for sand and gravel and grading of mountain roads which spanned more than six kilometres. Another proof of implementation were cement bags, steel bars and concrete culverts that Blazo saw for the drainage of one segment of the road. The COA which made its own inspection ahead of Virginia Palanca-Santiago did not disallow it, meaning, it found no irregularity in the implementation.
The embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia still has the gall to ignore the COA findings.
Now, Apostol has no choice but throw her back to where she properly belongs. He intends to slap her administrative charges for grave misconduct, dishonesty and insubordination.
That indeed is timely as the P-Noy administration is in process of cleansing the Office of the Ombudsman of crooks and misfits as it did to Gutierrez and Mark Jalandoni.
The latter, the deputy ombudsman for Luzon, resigned in disgrace after being ordered to answer the criminal and administrative raps lodged against him with the Office of the President for usurpation, a similar offense that Virginia Palanca-Santiago will be facing.
Jalandoni’s resignation came in the wake of the order by President P-Noy to sack Emilio Gonzalez III (that was implemented) for grave misconduct. Gonzalez’s questionable decision had led to the botched hostage-drama at Quirino Grandstand by a distraught PNP Chief Inspector Rolando Mendoza who was removed from service by an irregular order of dismissal written by them (Gonzalez and Mark Jalandoni).
Section 7 (2) of the Ombudsman Act vests on the President the power to discipline and remove the deputy ombudsman and the special prosecutor in accordance to due process.
Indeed, it’s high time that the embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia be given the boot. (to be continued)