Nalzaro: Goodbye, ‘Torre de Davide’


ONE of the issues raised by then gubernatorial candidate Gwen Garcia during the campaign period against the Davide administration was the proposed construction of the P1.3-billion Cebu Provincial Human Resource building. Gwen strongly opposed the construction of what she called “Torre de Davide” as it was a non-priority project and she did not want the Provincial Government to be shackled with a huge loan as it would burden Cebuano taxpayers. She wants the Province to be “debt-free.” The Davide administration applied for a P1.5-billion loan with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to finance the construction of the 20-story building, which will house Capitol departments. Other spaces will be rented out for private commercial purposes.

The project was already bid out, with WT Construction as the winning bidder. Aside from being a non-priority project, the proposed building violates the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, or Republic Act 10066, as it will be constructed inside the Capitol compound on the site of the former Bureau of Agricultural Extension Building, which was declared a heritage site by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Last December, Davide failed to convince the Provincial Board (PB) to give him the authority to enter into a contract with the winning bidder after majority of the PB rejected his request. He then withdrew his request, saying there was no need for a PB resolution because there was already an appropriation citing a Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Last March 26, Garcia filed an injunction against Davide and other Capitol officials, including the contractor, to stop the project. The case is pending before the Regional Trial Court in Toledo City. In an interview right after his proclamation as vice governor, Davide said Gwen cannot just unilaterally cancel the project as there is a pending case before the court. It’s up for the court to decide, he said.

Sus, si Junjun morag karon pa natawo. There are so many ways to skin a cat, so to speak.

Gwen can move heaven and earth to cancel the project altogether. Here are her options:

She can withdraw the case, considering she was the one who filed it. She can use the new composition of the PB, considering most of its members are her allies. She can communicate with the new leadership at Cebu City Hall not to issue the necessary construction permits to the contractor. She can ask the DBP to cancel the loan. She can ask a taxpayer to sue her (kuno) to force her to stop the construction on the basis that it violates the heritage law.

Pero para nako dili na angayan pang mabalaka si Junjun kung dili na mahinayon ang maong proyekto. Nganong mabalaka man siya nga dili naman siya gobernador.

Governor Davide’s “trusted men” at the Capitol should start “packing up” their things. They have barely a month and a half before they leave the Capitol, especially those who are coterminous with the governor like Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino and legal officer Orvy Ortega and other department heads except those who have permanent status. Some of these personalities became Davide’s liabilities and dragged him down as they were involved in shenanigans.

As to the other department heads like General Services Office Chief John Siegfred Sepe and Disaster Chief Baltazar Tribunalo, who, according to my sources, were given permanent positions, they just can’t be fired. However, they can be assigned elsewhere as long as they receive the same remuneration.


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