SP to probe sheep purchase-A A +A
Friday, February 15, 2013
VICE Governor Genaro Alvarez revealed Thursday that the Provincial Board (PB) will conduct an investigation into the alleged overpriced purchase of sheep from Australia by the Provincial Government.
Alvarez said the investigation may begin on Wednesday once the central offices of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issue their respective comments about the queries of the Provincial Board in clarification of Section 323 of the Local Government Code which is usually invoked by the members of the City Council identified with Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. as the reason that the body cannot take up other matters during the session because of their failure to act on the proposed 2013 budget.
"We are stuck on the budget issue. We expect to receive the DILG and DBM opinion next week (so that the SP can move on with its business)," Alvarez said.
It can be recalled that the issue on the sheep purchase surfaced last week after Pulupandan Mayor Mayor Magdaleno Peña stated in his letter to provincial veterinarian Dr. Renante Decena that the purchase was overpriced by P50 million to 60 million.
He furnished members of the SP with copies of his letter, in which he detailed his basis and computation of the overprice. The mayor challenged them to investigate the transaction and file plunder charges against Marañon and Decena before the Ombudsman.
Board Member Manuel Frederick Ko (3rd district) will bring up the matter before the PB, probably on Wednesday, according to Peña.
No involvement in sheep purchase
On the part of the PB, Alvarez explained that the body had no participation on the alleged overpriced purchase of the sheep, because although they authorized the governor to purchase the sheep, the SP had no participation on the transaction and the actual acquisition of the livestock.
"We approved it because it was based on the Food Security Program. But we have no participation on the negotiation and we have no involvement on the alleged overpriced purchase," Alvarez clarified.
He said that he could no longer recall if there were members of the PB who travelled to Australia with the Governor and Decena. He added that he also has to find out if there are members of the SP who availed of the sheep.
"We will investigate because the mayor is complaining. I suppose he has the evidence. Most likely we will also be included in the case but, as long as our consciences are clear, we need not worry about it or fear it. We will invite but not summon the governor because he is our superior and we are friends," Alvarez said.
"I have been trying to avoid gutter words but he challenged me to bet on our electoral contest. Let's see kon sin-o ang manghampol pagkatapus sang May 13 (who will be the loser after May 13)," Alvarez further said.
Meanwhile, Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said he will not appear before the Provincial Board (PB) if they will invite him for an inquiry on the alleged overpriced sheep issue.
Marañon said the PB has no authority and no legal right to conduct an investigation into the alleged overpriced sheep purchase made by the Provincial Government from Australia.
"That issue has already been answered several times and all records have been presented by Dr. Renante Decena. They are only fishing for evidence," Marañon said. (TDE)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 15, 2013.