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Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s exercise of raw power (34)

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)

Iloilo Press Club president Rommel Ynion  is just shooting at the moon by lodging a complaint against Iloilo City Jed Patrick Mabilog with the Office of the Ombudsman.

There is no assurance that the Ombudsman will take him seriously  given the fact that its regional office based in Iloilo City is headed by one named Virginia Palanca-Santiago, the embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia, a moral pygmy whose sense of right and wrong is as revolting as her looks.

Ynion seeks to protect city taxpayers from Mabilog who is rushing to throw P262 million to complete the 7-storey city hall which already ate up P355 million.Mabilog’s precedessor, now Rep. Jerry Trenas, boasted in 2007, shortly after his re-election for his third and last term, that of initial price of P450 million,
contractor FF Cruz and co. – Freyssinet Filipinas would complete it for only P368 million.

FF Cruz – Freyssinet Filipinas merely constructed the skeleton. The remaining P90 million “savings”, according to Ynion, would have sufficed to complete the job to include elevators, air-conditioning system, cabling for power and communications, and finishing.

Ynion is corroborated by local engineers and fellow contractors. Industry estimate places the cost of construction per square meter at P25,000. With Mabilog’s wish for additional P262 million, Iloilo City Hall would be the costliest edifice in Western Visayas if not the Philippines, at P45,000 per square meter.

Mabilog justifies his extravagance to be “necessary” because he would be erecting a structure that “all Ilonggos” will be “proud of”. That mirrors his graffiti throughout the city that shout “Iloilo Syudad Ko, Bugal Ko” (Iloilo My
City, My Pride).

Iloilo city taxpayers are already saddled by a P130 million debt to build 413 houses, for its employees, in nearby Pavia town. None of that was completed. The contractor Ace Builders, Inc. fled without finishing a single structure, and after Mayor Jerry Trenas paid it up to P90 million.

Three separate suits – by lawyer Romeo Gerochi,  Atty. Tony Pesina and then Kagawad Raul Gonzalez, Jr. – against Trenas and cabal in 2004, before the national elections yet.

The embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia sat on these complaints, notwithstanding tell-tale documents submitted by Gonzalez Jr., who led the city council probe team.

The Gonzalez committee recommended rescission of the contract and suing the contractor for damages. However Trenas  disregarded it. He continued paying the errant contractor instead of seizing its bonds and sureties to answer for the slippage and damages.

Gonzalez, Gerochi and Pesina did the right job of protecting the public by exposing the anomaly and seeking damages from the erring contractor and its co-conspirators at City Hall.

The Constitution tags the Ombudsman “protector of the people” but Palanca-Santiago completely betrayed that by sitting on the complaints against Trenas et al. The embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia instead turned her office
“protector of Trenas and company”.

This is already the 34th in my series of unmasking the moral pygmy and so far, she responded by making her presence scarce in Iloilo.  Sources say she is being given a graceful exit to slip silently into retirement. This is unfair to her victims, the taxpayers of Iloilo City.

In 2007,  columnist Peter Jimenea queried her on the status of the suit filed against Trenas et al.  She answered that all the files were gone because then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierez ordered her office to forward the entire folder to the central office.

Palanca-Santiago cannot escape responsibility for getting Trenas et al off the hook. At that time since 2004, she was the de facto head of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

Then deputy Ombudsman Primo Miro was already debilitated by illness. Until the discraceful exit of her boss, Merceditas Gutierrez who resigned in April, the moral pygmy was the one in control of the office that has jurisdiction in the entire Visayas.

Pelagio Apostol, Jr. was appointed in 2007 to replace Miro but Gutierrez ignored him and instead, empowered Palanca-Santiagocapo di tutti capi of the Visayas.Today, city taxpayers bleed P17,000 daily paying the interest of the loan that became the Pavia Housing monster.

It happened because the embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia deliberately failed to perform her mandate  “protector of the people”.

There is little reason to believe that her heart will change this time. I would rather advise Ynion to prepare another suit to slap this moral pygmy with.


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