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Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s exercise of raw power


BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER

“I  had the rare opportunity to talk with Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol, and he confirmed the abusive behavior of Virginia Palanco-Santiago. This woman was part of the cover-up structure put together by Mark Jalandoni to protect the crooks and plunderers in the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo government. Apostol said she is evil.” – (Manuel Mejorada, Iloilo-based columnist)



The disgraceful exit of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and her underlings – Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Mark Jalandoni and Deputy Ombudsman for police/military affairs, Emilio Gonzalez III – gives the institution whiffs of fresh air to blow away the stench accumulated over the years by their brazen abuse of  power.

The wind of renewal now blows at the Ombudsman-Visayas in Cebu City. Pelagio Apostol, Jr. now exercises the power vested by law on him as Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas but denied him by the Gutierrez-Jalandoni-Gonzalez cabal in cahoots with Virginia Palanca-Santiago.
Virginia Palanca-Santiago is a subordinate, as assistant Ombudsman-Visayas and concurrently regional director of the same office in Western Visayas based in Iloilo City. The Gutierrez cabal, however elevated her above Apostol who became an underling as Palanca-Santiago  called the shots.
Apostol, as special state prosecutor, successfully prosecuted former President Erap Estrada for plunder. He got promoted deputy ombudsman for the Visayas in 2007. He might have overtaken Palanca-Santiago but that became his misfortune as well because Gutierrez did not recognize him and, instead, licensed Palanca-Santiago to discharge the functions of the deputy ombudsman for the Visayas.
The ouster of the Gutierrez-Jalandoni-Gonzalez cabal shifted the balance of power in favour of Apostol. But Palanca-Santiago pushed her luck too far. She reversed a resolution issued by Apostol.
Two years ago, Apostol junked a graft case that a relative slapped on Rep. Niel C. Tupas, Jr. (LP, 5thdistrict, Iloilo). Lately, the solon got the shock of his life after receiving a notice from Palanca-Santiago ordering him to answer the very complaint that Apostol dismissed for lack of merit.
Virginia Palanca-Santiago would be slapped charges for usurping the power that Apostol alone possesses. She has reversed the decision of her superior.
Your Beekeeper gathered that Palanca-Santiago “for humanitarian” reasons would be spared the agony of facing charges and be allowed to slip silently into retirement with full retirement benefits.
She does not deserve such reward. She must be investigated for her crimes of abusing the power vested on her by the sovereign people.
She must to be investigated for rigging decisions and for convicting the innocent in administrative cases, the way she did in People’s Graftwatch of Iloilo, Inc. vs Igbaras Mayor Jaime Esmeralda, et al.
This is already the 32nd in my series of unmasking Virginia Palanca-Santiago as the embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia, as a moral pygmy whose sense of right and wrong is as revolting as her looks.
It is not difficult to see she rigged her decision in the Esmeralda case. Esmeralda et al were charged for the P1 million “ghost road repair” in Igbaras, Iloilo in April 2004. By “ghost” means, there was no road repair at all;  viewed otherwise, the P1 million budget for that was pocketed, as what the complaint-affidavits chorused from a single template with only the names of affiants differing.
When investigator Roderick Blazo inspected in November 2004, six months after the re-gravelling of  more than six kilometers stretch of mountain roads, he saw traces of implementation. He saw bags of cement, steel bars and concrete culverts on the roadside for the drainage. Further, the amount of P150,000 for labor to install the drainage was intact in the municipal treasury awaiting release. P450,000 was allotted for sand and gravel while P350,000 for the materials for the drainage.
The facts above sufficed to junk the ghost-project yarn but the embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia shifted theory. She swung from ghost project to substandard implementation. She insured her victims  no escape by imposing standard for road asphalting or concreting. There was gravel on the road but just the same, her victims were at fault because it was unevenly graded, some portions had too much of it, while others had none. Some parts of the road fell short of the standard 3-meter width.
Virginia Palanca-Santiago ignored the COA investigation done ahead of her ocular inspection, as well as the affidavits of residents and barangay officials attesting to the delivery of sand and gravel and the heavy equipment that spread them on the road surface. The COA did not disallow it, meaning, it found no irregularity in it. (to be continued)
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