CEBU VICE Gov. Gregorio Sanchez may soon face a graft case over the assignment of government workers to a training center he set up using personal funds.

Sanchez, according to Capitol spokesman Rory Jon Sepulveda, can’t get away with his justification that he doesn’t use government funds for seminars under his livelihood and entrepreneurial projects, which are regularly conducted in his two-hectare farm in San Juan, Tuburan.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Sanchez’s admission that he assigned four Capitol casual and contractual employees to the training center raises a lot of questions on conflict of interest and graft issues, Sepulveda said.

Sepulveda said that after he shall have gathered all the details about the issue, he will file a graft case against the vice governor, in his personal capacity as a lawyer and a constituent of the province.

He said Sanchez should explain who among the Capitol officials he arranged the training with.

Sanchez, however, said he doesn’t see the need for a formal arrangement like a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the conduct of seminars in his own farm.

Projects

He said the seminars regularly conducted there are considered part of his livelihood and entrepreneurial projects. The P1.5 million per year allocated by Capitol for the project is untouched, he said.

Sanchez, however, couldn’t say where the money went saying he never kept track of it. He said he paid for the seminars and the kits distributed to participants. He also pays for the water and electricity bills of the training center.

The vice governor also corrected his earlier statement that five employees were assigned there. He said only four were sent there.

Sepulveda said Sanchez’s “drama” on the renewal of 56 casual and contractual employees backfired on him.

He said the vice governor wanted to play hero even if he knew that a review is done upon the end of a 12-month contract.

Sanchez had earlier complained against Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s memorandum telling workers not to report for work until their contracts are renewed.

Sepulveda said he will look deeper into the issue and challenged Sanchez to justify his assignment of four workers, paid by the Provincial Government, to a farm that he owns.

Sanchez said it was his prerogative to send the workers there. He challenged Sepulveda to file a case.

“Kapoy na sigeg tubag. Wa gani mo katubag sa Balili and Cebu International Convention Center (CICC).

I challenge them to file a case. Kapoy na kaayo. File na lang direstso ug naa mo’y nakita” he said.

“(Sepulveda) doesn’t deserve any answer from me. I know that what they are doing are all fishing expeditions. Who is Jong Sepulveda?,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez also said that as vice governor of Cebu, he doesn’t have to answer Sepulveda on his charges.

Sanchez said he never used the seminars to promote his liquid fertilizer business. There’s a separate training center for this, he said.

In Cebu City Hall, Mayor Tomas Osmeña said Garcia’s action on the workers assigned to Sanchez showed vindictiveness.

“I just want to comment on the governor’s treatment of the employees of the vice governor. It just further indicates her vindictiveness,” he said.

He said the governor’s move was a “clear abuse of power” because Sanchez was no longer her ally.

Vindictive

Osmeña said the governor also showed vindictiveness when she took back the allowances of judges in 2008.

The mayor alleged that the governor, a political rival, took back the allowances of the judges because of decisions that were unfavorable to Capitol.

The judges include one who ruled in favor of the City Government on whether it is the mayor or the governor who has the right to appoint members of the Metro Cebu Water District board.

Because of the governor’s alleged act of “intimidating judges by canceling their allowances,” the City entered into an agreement with the Supreme Court (SC) last March 2009 for the setting up of a Judiciary Equalization Fund (JEF) that will replenish the allowances of judges taken away by local government units (LGUs).

For the judges to recoup their lost stipends, the SC can tap the amount the City will donate as replacement honoraria. The City Government has committed itself to annually contribute P1 million to the LGU-JEF.

Told that the Capitol has already renewed the contracts of 49 employees, the mayor said it was because the governor was “under pressure, not because she loves them.”