FOUR months behind deadline and the special panel Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia formed to investigate the Balili property controversy remains unable to come up with their findings.

Atty. Medardo de Lemos, who heads the panel, admitted this yesterday, adding that the group, which includes members of the Provincial Board (PB), is still “working on it.”

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In an interview last December, three months after Garcia’s September deadline, de Lemos, director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7, said they have prepared a draft and have had it passed around for revisions.

But, several weeks ago, reporters found de Lemos having a closed-door meeting with panel members anew.

De Lemos has refused to give updates on their investigation, adding that this would violate an agreement he himself initiated against leaks.


He said some of the data they got came from the PB hearings on the same subject.

Governor Garcia created the panel in an executive order dated Aug. 24, amid allegations that she, too, should be held responsible for the transaction that resulted in the

Capitol’s purchase of P97 million worth of “land” which, upon inspection, turned out to be largely underwater.

Garcia approved the deal and signed the contract.

When criticisms were raised against it, she apologized publicly and said she merely relied on the recommendations of people under her, including PB member Juan Bolo who supposedly brokered the transaction.

She gave the panel 30 days to submit a report.

The panel’s findings, though, is recommendatory in nature and is geared towards preventing similar incidents from happening again.

The probe, which may or may not actually result in the filing of criminal and administrative cases, is being done by the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas but a Final Evaluation Report is not expected soon.

This after Tanodbayan Merceditas Gutierrez issued a memorandum expanding a directive that requires all cases set for preliminary investigation and administrative adjudication against high-ranking officials to be sent to Manila for handling.