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)
BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
In April 2004, three groups accused then Mayor Jerry Treñas for the Pavia Housing Scam.
The city government borrowed P130 million in 2001 to erect 413 houses for employees. In 2005, contractor Ace Builders Enterprises quit without completing one. Treñas got reelected and paid it up to P90 million despite the slippage, instead of seizing its surety bonds.
The city council adopted the report of the body led by then Kgd. Raul Gonzalez, Jr., which recommended rescission of contract and demanded damages from the contractor.
Lawyer Romeo Gerochi sued Treñas et al, and so did Kgd. Antonio Pesina and Gonzalez, Jr.
What happened next? Assistant Ombudsman for the Visayas Virginia Palanca-Santiago sat on it.
Columnist Peter Jimenea asked her “why” via “sms” or “text messaging” in 2007. She answered, all files were gone; Ombudsman Gutierrez ordered the Cebu office to send the records to the national office.
With that, the suspects in the plunder of P130 million are now beyond reach.
Palanca-Santiago can’t escape responsibility. By 2004, she controlled the Visayas office; then Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Primo Miro was debilitated, his health deteriorating from alcohol abuse.
Pelagio Apostol, Jr., now the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas, was then special prosecutor pursuing former Pres. Joseph Estrada for plunder.
Palanca-Santiago called the shots throughout. Though Apostol overtook Palanca-Santiago in 2007, he was remained a non-entity by Merceditas
Gutierrez who turned the Office of the Ombudsman protector of GMA.
Palanca-Santiago wielded the power in the Ombudsman (Visayas), despite Apostol being the deputy.
Palanca-Santiago, also director for Western Visayas, has a sense of shame left, after all.
This is already 33rd in my series of unmasking her as the embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia and a moral pygmy whose sense of right and wrong is as revolting as her looks.She no longer struts around in Iloilo like a peacock or daughter of some divinity.
Her mouth used to ooze with religious ejaculations, “god almighty” for instance, in her public lectures on governance, a secular topic where neither angels nor demons much less the god almighty that she often invokes, is relevant.
She made her presence in Iloilo scarce since your Beekeepr unmasked her.
The cleansing in the Ombudsman, which the Constitution calls “Protector of the People” ripples. The disgraceful exit of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Mark Jalandoni, and Deputy Ombudsman for Military Affairs Emilio Gonzalez III, gives us a glimmer of hope that it can be steered to make it truly protector of the people.
The cleansing is incomplete. In the Visayas, one still remains – Virginia Palanca-Santiago.
The way she let those involved in the Pavia Housing scam off the hook points to her as a misfit. She rigged her decision to convict Igbaras Mayor Jaime Esmeralda et al in her decision in 2009, and she hurried to execute her rigged decision notwithstanding the timely motion for reconsideration her victims filed, which bespeaks of the same moral unfitness.
Esmeralda et al were accused in February 2005 for an alleged “ghost” regravelling done in April 2004, in Igbaras, Iloilo worth P1 million.
Actually, P350,000 of that was spent for concrete culverts, steel bars and bags of cement to install a drainage, while P150,000 was with the municipal treasury for the labor.
The rest was spent for gravel to cover more than six kilometers of mountain roads.The complainant’s evidence was the thick wad of affidavits lifted from a single template where the affiants denied seeing sand and gravel nor trucks unloading it or graders grading roads.
The ghost project yarn was unproven: the investigator sent by Palanca-Santiago found traces of implementation. Instead of trashing the ghost project yarn, she convicted her victims because the project was substandard.
The Ombudsman inspected in November 2004, or nine months after, but did not factor in the rainy season that deformed the roads. The ghost angle had no leg to stand on, nevertheless, the moral pygmy convicted her victims because the roads were unevenly graded, some portions had none while other had too much aggregates.
The ghost project theory was farcical but Palanca-Santiago still pinned her victims down because some sections of the roads were less than three meters wide and the aggregates were less than one-inch thick, as if she were dealing with asphalting or concreting, not gravelling.
The bags of cement, steel bars and concrete culverts on the road side belied the ghost yarn; the moral pygmy blamed her victims because the materials deteriorated without further investigation.
Palanca-Santiago should not be allowed to slip into retirement silently. She must be investigated for corruption. (To be continued)