Councilor wants transparency in proposed CCTV purchase-A A +A
Thursday, July 5, 2012
BACOLOD City Councilor Archie Baribar, chair of the City Council committee on communication and energy, said in his report on the controversial proposed purchase of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras by the city that such purchase should be pursued in a transparent manner.
He recommended that the planned transaction, being one of public interest and which will involve public funds, merits a deeper consideration and investigation by proper government agencies, such as the Ombudsman or the City Prosecutor's Office.
He added that a resolution referring the subject matter to said agencies is in order and that all persons named by complainant Romie Niere should also be accordingly subjected to such investigation.
Baribar conceded that it may be premature or unnecessary to appreciate an initiative by a constituent but the revelations by Niere are laudable.
“Seldom can one find a man of this character. Undoubtedly the disclosure had significantly contributed to the growing civic consciousness of our constituents on the real state of affairs of Bacolod. Mr. Niere should be appreciated for having ushered, wittingly and unwittingly, new and higher level of political maturity,” Baribar said.
The report was the offshoot of an investigation spurred by a complaint from Niere relative to the city’s plan to purchase CCTV cameras.
Niere pointed at Leo Bentinganan, the mayor's private secretary, as the person who requested him to help secure the mayor’s approval of the purchase of the equipment.
Niere alleged that Bentinganan was pushing for the transaction because he had not benefited from any project and that he has to make his move, as the mayor is already at the end of his term.
These accusations were vehemently denied by Bentinganan and even by Mayor Evelio Leonardia himself. Bentinganan even pointed to Niere as the one who asked him for help in that project.
At the height of the allegations, Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson said that there was no available fund yet for the purchase of the CCTV.
The CCTV purchase was prompted by the robbery incident in Central Negros Electric Cooperative last March where the robbers divested the electric coop of more or less P3.6 million in cash.
Police blamed the lack of CCTV equipment for making things easier for the robbers to execute their plan in the shortest time. (Carla N. Canet)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 05, 2012.