FOLLOWING an inquiry of the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez said the Provincial Board (PB) will discuss tomorrow the results of the ad hoc committee investigation on the purchase of the Balili land.

Assistant Visayas Ombudsman Virginia Palanca–Santiago wrote a letter to Sanchez, dated Feb. 23, asking for updates on the PB investigation. The ombudsman needs it for their own fact-finding inquiry.

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Sanchez said he will see what he can do to speed up the result of the investigation on the Province’s nearly P99-million purchase of a former resort in Tinaan, City of Naga. Part of the 24-hectare property turned out to be underwater or covered by mangroves, although the Province received clean titles for it.

Sanchez said he chose not to talk to the investigation committee members after he received the letter because he did not want to be misunderstood. He just instructed the PB Secretary’s Office to include it in the calendar of business for Monday’s session.

“You know my position in the board,” Sanchez, the presiding officer, said.

PB Member Joven Mondigo Jr., who co-chairs the Balili legislative inquiry with PB Member Alfred Francis Ouano, said he is about to conclude the report but he’s still waiting for the inputs of his co-chairman and the entire board.

Entire board’s work

“I am waiting for their inputs for us to incorporate them,” Mondigo said in a text message.

Although Sanchez did not categorically state that politics is behind the delay in the result, he hinted the delay is “not surprising” as there are only two opposition members of the PB. 

Majority of the PB members are administration allies, while only Sanchez and PB Member Victoria Corominas belong to the minority and are now members of the Liberal Party (LP).

“That’s the vice governor’s opinion,” Mondigo said.

“For me, the entire board belongs to the investigation committee, with Ouano as co-chairman. I want to come up with a report that incorporates their suggestions. Also, lately, we finish the session nearly 6 p.m. because of the administrative complaints against municipal officials, in which I also participate,” Mondigo said.

The PB, Mondigo earlier said, conducted its inquiry to determine if any procedural lapses were made during the purchase and what sanctions, if any, can be imposed on erring officials.

They started their investigation in August 2009.

Apart from the PB and the ombudsman’s office, the Capitol executive department’s Balili Properties Review Committee also investigated the purchase.