Capitol vet: My conscience is clear

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

NEGROS Occidental Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena, who is facing a plunder complaint with Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. for the alleged overpriced purchase of sheep and cattle, said Friday that his conscience is clear and that they are not the only officers accountable for the transaction.

"We have an administrative system of government. The accountable officers are not only me and the governor," Decena said.

Marañon cannot be reached for comment as he is on personal travel to Tokyo, Japan until the end of the year.

Lawyer Roger Reyes, who filed the administrative and criminal complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas last December 23, said the implementation of the P100-million Negros First Ranch Sheep and Beef Cattle Breeding Project "is in its face manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the Province of Negros Occidental."

However, Decena said the plan and the execution of the project was duly approved by the Provincial Board (PB).

"It had gone through discussions until the SP (PB) approved the recommendation of the governor," he said, adding that the transaction had also undergone proper procurement process.

Decena said they processed the documents for a year until the transaction was consummated.

In his complaint, Reyes said that from the start, there was "patent irregularity in the transaction implemented by Marañon and Decena and their supplier International Livestock Export Pty. Ltd. (ILEPL)."

The lawyer added that the Province "has incurred millions of pesos of losses for the unreported deaths of sheep occurring more than a year ago and for the unaccounted heads of sheep allegedly dispersed to some individuals for free."

For his part, Decena said that the loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines that funded the project was also scrutinized by the PB before it was approved.

"This is a rehashed issue from the last elections. We defended it during the budget hearings in the SP," he added.

Reyes is a lawyer of former Pulupandan mayor Magdaleno Peña, the chief campaigner of former Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez Jr., who lost to Marañon in the May 2013 elections. (NLG)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 28, 2013.

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