Trying to gain public sympathy-A A +A
Sunday, July 22, 2012
GOV. Gwen Garcia is trying to gain public sympathy by claiming that she is being politically harassed and persecuted with the filing of two counts of graft and one count of technical malversation in connection with the purchase of the Balili property. Who is politically harassing and persecuting her? When they bought that property in the amount of P98.9 million, did they think of political harassment in the future?
The Office of the Ombudsman has enough bases to file the cases against her and seven other officials before the Sandiganbayan. It cited the Capitol’s “unusual interest” in buying the property. Or the Capitol disregarding the papers submitted by the Technical Working Group. Or entering into a contract without allocated funds. Or certifying and releasing public funds not meant for the purchase. Finally, it was also established there was a conspiracy between the Capitol officials involved and the lot owner, Mrs. Amparo Balili, and property administrator, lawyer Romeo Balili.
I agree with the “unusual interest” in buying the property. When the Capitol made the purchase, no feasibility study was conducted on what to do with the property. The Capitol bought it without any plan. What they had in mind at that time was how to release a huge amount because they just wanted to get commissions and kickbacks out of that deal. And, indeed, they succeeded. I have a friend who is into real estate and he told me Mrs. Balili offered it to him at P250 per square meter in 2005. In 2008, the deal between Capitol and the Balili was consummated and the price per square meter was much higher.
If there is one person who should be held liable for this questionable deal, it should be former Provincial Board (PB) member Juan Bolo. He was the “architect” of the deal.
He acted as broker of the Balilis. He was the one who egged the governor to buy the property. He sponsored the resolution in the PB authorizing the governor to enter into a contract with the Balilis. He processed and made constant follow-ups on the release of payments. Why did he act this way? Commission.
If Gwen wanted to protect the money of the Province, she should have checked and double-checked and inspected the property to see if this could be useful. It was discovered that members of the appraisal committee “deliberately omitted” some facts about the property. Gwen was deceived about the status of the property because members of the appraisal committee were also thinking about their commissions. Mirisi ninyo.
Kuwarta ra man god diha sa inyong huna-huna sa dihang namalit mo aning way hinungdang lote.
The technical malversation case is easier to prove than the graft cases because the prosecutors will just establish how funds were diverted to purchase the property. But in this case, it was found that Capitol officials entered into a contract without public funds specifically set aside to buy the property.
Gwen cannot escape responsibility as she was actively involved and was very much aware of the entire deal. She has to face the consequences. As what I have said in my previous column, I hope this humbling experience will teach her a lesson in and the meaning of humility. Kining pagdumala sa gobiyerno Madam Governor, dili man lang god ni sige singhag og singka o pangasaba morag kita nay labing gamhanan.
Now, will this affect her senatorial bid? Of course. People in the Visayas and Mindanao are already aware about these charges through media, especially broadcast reports. If you are a voter in Mindanao, though you don’t really know the governor but you heard about the cases filed against her, will you still vote for her? I will not.
Will you vote for a candidate with a questionable record and dubious personality?
Of course, Gwen and the other officials charged are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. But public perception is so unfavorable to the respondents and some have already judged them guilty. By the way, is Gwen’s suspension coming?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2012.