Revilla’s expose nada

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


A TAXPAYER texted me on Monday about what he claims to be an under-the-table transaction at the business permit section of the City Hall in Mandaue.

The taxpayer, who asked not to be named, said in a text message that a commotion erupted when another taxpayer uncovered the transaction.

Applicants for renewal of business permits were given priority numbers at the business permit section. However, the priority number system was not observed. Allegedly, those who gave grease money were attended to first.

Mandaue City Administrator James Abadia denied the allegation. He said that while it is true that there was a commotion at the business permit section it was not about the alleged under-the-table transaction.

“Inasmuch as we would want to accommodate everyone and fast track the renewal of the business permits, there are just too many applicants,” said Abadia.

Company bookkeepers are the ones tasked by their establishments to apply for the business permits. What happened was that one bookkeeper applied for the business permits of more than one establishment. The bookkeeper had to move from one place to the other, explained Abadia.

Because of what happened, the process for the renewal of business permits was changed to avoid the commotion, he said.

The allegation of the presence of under-the-table transactions in a government office is not new. Where money is involved, there is always the suspicion of unholy alliance between government employees and the applicant.

Whether the allegation is true or not, government workers should now be careful. With almost everyone having a cell phone with camera, it would be easy to record or capture shady transactions.

***

Sen. Bong Revilla failed to get the public’s sympathy in his privilege speech.

Instead, many questioned his motive in hitting back at President Noynoy Aquino and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.

Revilla is one of the three senators charged with plunder in the multi-billion-peso pork barrel scam. He allegedly channeled his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to the bogus non-government organizations of Janet Lim-Napoles.

It was too late in the day for the senator’s supposed expose. If the intention was real, he could have made the revelation during the impeachment trial of former Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona.

The point that Senator Revilla tried to bring home in his speech is that President Aquino could influence the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan in the case against him. It was nothing but noise.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima even felt insulted when the senator mocked the “truckload” of evidence that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) submitted to the Ombudsman against him.

Senator Revilla’s claim that his signatures that appeared in documents on the release of his PDAF were forged boomeranged on him. He must have forgotten that he wrote to the Commission on Audit (COA) on July 8, 2011 acknowledging his signatures on these documents.

The senator’s letter, addressed to COA Assistant Commissioner Arcadio B. Cuenco, Jr. was his reply to COA’s queries when the legislators PDAFs for the years 2007-2009 were subjected to special audit.

Although what Revilla delivered was a privilege speech, whatever he said in the Halls of the Senate that may be contradictory to his counter-affidavit could still be used against him in his pending case before the Ombudsman.

(atty.ellieE@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 23, 2014.

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