Puntevella to CLO: Probe shameful incident at OBO-A A +A
Friday, September 6, 2013
BACOLOD City Mayor Monico Puentevella has directed City Legal Officer (CLO) Sarah Villamor to investigate the incident involving the personnel of the Office of the Building Official (OBO).
This was relayed by lawyer Rolando Villamor, city administrator, saying that the mayor wanted to determine the real score about the recent entrapment operation conducted by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives who caught red-handed two personnel of OBO and a civilian Wednesday, for receiving “grease money” from a contractor.
Puentevella also wanted them to look into how the incident can be prevented from a possible repeat. The CLO has started the investigation and even asked, and the identities of these suspects and why it led to their capture.
The subject OBO personnel are still detained within the reglementary period of detention at the NBI custody. This irregularity at OBO is happening way before the administration assumed, Villamor said. There were many talks and complaints against OBO and when the new administration assumed, Puentevella ordered a revamp and OBO official was replaced by Sun.
"We are aware of the irregularities at OBO. We just inherited this problem. The changes that have been made is still insufficient and three days ago, Mayor Puentevella met this OBO official and personnel and told them to correct their work as many have complained against them. But still this thing happened," he added.
Villamor also called the attention of city treasurer Anabelle Badajos, who had said that supposed to be, an official receipt of the transaction from the City Treasurer's Office (CTO) will be brought at OBO, and that is the time that OBO will entertain the applicant. Badajos also suggested that before the OBO entertains a client, a client should have an official receipt.
The OBO will first issue an order or payment to the client and then the client will pay directly to the CTO and then come back to OBO to process their application. The city administrator said that although he does not have the power to investigate, he would be remiss on his obligation if he will not help act in finding a solution.
“Fixers” exist not only in OBO, but in other government offices. But the applicant should pay more than the legal fees because one has to pay the person who either offered his services or have been asked to facilitate the application in behalf of the client, he said.
Meanwhile, NBI-Bacolod has prepared charges for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against the personnel of OBO. NBI investigator Syrus Aluzan said they will base the case on the complaints filed before their office by C5 General Services and Mahonri Electrical Services.
He identified the principal suspect as Peter Plantillo, a regular employee of the Bacolod City government assigned as OBO inspector. Also apprehended and detained with Plantillo are John Navales, a job order employee and Gilbert Martinez. Aluzan said as of press time, they have not obtained yet the statement of the three suspects who are not represented by lawyers.
He also disclosed that Mayor Monico Puentevella has not intervened in so far as the NBI investigation is concerned. Complainants claimed that before their applications could be acted upon by the OBO, some personnel had asked for “grease money” of P100 per applicant.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 06, 2013.