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Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s exercise of raw power (38)


BY Pet Melliza

Since your Beekeeper started running this series, our heroine Virginia Palanca-Santiago, director of the Office of the Ombudsman in Western Visayas, made her presence scarce in Iloilo.

Even after her boss Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez resigned on the eve of Labor Day (May 1, 2011), Palanca-Santiago still frequented the national office to represent the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas), bypassing the sitting deputy ombudsman, Pelagio Apostol, Jr.

It did not take long though before Apostol flexed his muscle to end the effrontery, and place Palanca-Santiago back to her proper place, as one of the directors of the office, all under his direct supervision. Apostol did not have to stop  Palanca-Santiago from flying to Iloilo which she already did voluntarily. What he did was to stop her junkets to Manila.

That might be karma in the making for Palanca-Santiago who I had been describing in this series as the embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia,  a moral pygmy whose sense of right and wrong is as revolting as her looks.

This is already the 38th in the series and your Beekeeper reiterates what he’s been calling for throughout: that her application for early retirement be denied. She must not be allowed to slip silently out but must be investigated for corruption.

For one, she rigged her decision in People’s Graftwatch vs Jaime Esmeralda, et al, convicting the innocent if only to please a pack of charlatans masquerading as graftbusters led by a perpetual barflunker and a cleric whose looks reminds us of our affinity with primates.

Esmeralda et al were charged by the charlatans for the P1 million “ghost” road re-gravelling project in February 2005.  Allegedly, Esmeralda, mayor of Igbaras, Iloilo received a P1 million to repair two barangay roads stretching more than six kilometers that he did in April 2004.  By “ghost”, the complainant meant no implementation at all, the budget pocketed, and so proved that by submitting a thick wad of affidavits, lifted from a single template with only the personal circumstances of the affiants and the dates of their execution of the document, differing. The sworn statements chorused that there were no truck and heavy equipment seen in the barangays in the period delivering gravel and leveling it.

The Commission on Audit (COA) Region 6 inspected the cite in September 2005;  it did not disallow the project saying the facts on hand were “not conclusive.” Palanca-Santiago sent quack investigator Roderick Blazo two months after. Blazo saw traces of implementation in his reports. He reported having seen gravel and bags of cement, steel bars, concrete culverts and a pile of sand and gravel on the site that suffice to trash the ghost project yarn. However, he proceeded to recommend the preventive suspension and administrative conviction of the respondents.

Let’s paraphrase his idiotic findings which the embalmed Mommy Dionisia reaffirmed. He admitted he saw surface materials on the roads but they were substandard because some portions had too much of them, while others had none at all. Worse, the surface did not conform to the one-inch thickness. Ergo, Esmeralda et al were guilty.

He saw the concrete culverts, bags of cement and steel bars which showed delivery but they were deteriorating. Ergo, Esmeralda et al were guilty, without even probing deeper on the causes thereof.

And his most idiotic finding: some portions of the road were only 3.5 meters wide, less than the standard five meters. Ergo, Esmeralda et al were guilty.

He thought he was investigating something else other than the mere re-gravelling of more than six kilometers of mountain road on a measly P1 million budget.

Virginia Palanca-Santiago is sick. Somebody in the Ombudsman Visayas is now questioning her title “Assistant Ombudsman” when no such plantilla position exists. She’s been enjoying that tag for more than five years.

There is no basis to hold Esmeralda et al probably guilty but she invented a “law” to suit her vagary. They are liable because the municipal treasurer and the private secretary signed the delivery receipts when they were not qualified to do so. Since when is that a crime? This sick woman thinks she must be so powerful that she can fabricate a law any time.*


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