VICE Gov. Gregorio Sanchez said there was no politics involved when he imposed a deadline on the release of the result of the Provincial Board’s (PB) ad hoc committee report on the Balili property purchase.
He said he merely acted on the inquiry of Assistant Visayas Ombudsman Virginia Palanca-Santiago after he received from her a Feb. 23 letter asking for updates on the PB investigation.
Citing that the ombudsman needs the ad hoc committee report for its own fact-finding inquiry, the presiding officer said he’s just protecting the integrity of the PB “amid innuendos from different sectors that they are withholding the result.”
Sanchez gave the reaction after PB Member Wilfredo Caminero said he could “sense” that the vice governor has the inclination to use the issue for politics.
“I can’t simply predict the intention of the vice governor. He is using the pressure of the media. I can sense that there’s an inclination to that direction (political aspect),” Caminero told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.
But Sanchez said he asked the committee to soon submit the report during the PB session last Monday to comply with the Ombudsman’s request.
“I have no hidden agenda. They said there’s already a working draft so what’s holding them? We might be accused of withholding the report,” Sanchez added.
But last Nov. 27, when Sanchez took his oath as the vice gubernatorial candidate of the Liberal Party (LP), gubernatorial candidate Hilario Davide III said the Balili property purchase and the Cebu International Convention Center are two issues that they can use against Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Sanchez defected from Garcia’s One Cebu party and has called for the rescission of the contract on the purchase of the 24.7-hectare Balili property.
While PB Member Joven Mondigo assured last Monday that the report will be released in 10 days, PB Member Juan Bolo, who admitted to facilitating the purchase, said he will submit his recommendations to Mondigo on Monday.
Although, he was not able to attend the caucus after the PB session last Monday, Bolo said he will point out the scope of functions and duties of the Provincial Appraisal Committee.
He, however, did not reply when asked if he will include in his report, a suggestion to hire the services of an independent surveyor prior to the Capitol’s purchase of a real property.
Engr. Anthony Sususco, chief of the Provincial Assessor’s Office, earlier said the job of the appraisal committee is limited to identifying the physical characteristics of a property and its subsequent market value in relation to the assessment.
This does not include a survey of the property, which is normally done by a geodetic engineer.
He added that the tasks of the appraisal committee were in accordance with the late president Corazon Aquino’s executive order and a memorandum of former Cebu governor and now Rep. Pablo Garcia (Cebu, 2nd district).
The governor, in a meeting with a group of editors, reporters and opinion columnists at the Grand Convention Center earlier, expressed her intention to amend the executive order creating the appraisal committee. She wants to include a full geodetic survey before the Capitol purchases a property.
Caminero, in a separate interview, said his recommendation will focus on the functions of the appraisal committee.
His recommendations, he said, are not that sensitive because the purpose of the ad hoc committee hearing is in aid of legislation.