“NO wang-wang, no taking home of towels.”
This should be the new motto of the Liberal Party, joked Provincial Board (PB) Member Arleigh Sitoy, who was accused of losing a towel in a resort in a northern town over the weekend.
Sitoy, a member of the opposition, was among those who attended the consultative meeting of all PB members organized by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
In her press conference yesterday, Garcia said when the bill came, there was a charge for a towel from the room of Sitoy.
But Garcia said only Sitoy’s staff members slept there.
In the same conference, Garcia said Sitoy's driver parked illegally at the entrance of the resort and was rude when reprimanded about it.
Garcia ordered an investigation on both “embarrassing” incidents.
Sitoy said he will submit his staff and his driver to the investigation.
“I will cooperate... I apologize to the governor because it happened inside my room, under the watch of my staff and under my command responsibility,” said Sitoy on the lost towel.
Sitoy’s legislative staff Julius Regner said he and three others slept in the room assigned to Sitoy because Sitoy went home Saturday night while his staff stayed to take down notes of the consultative meeting.
Regner said he and his colleagues will submit to the investigation by the Capitol committee on discipline and investigation and confirmed that a representative from the committee called Sitoy's office informing them of an investigation.
“The fact nga gikuha, pangawat man na (The fact that the towel was taken, that was theft),” said Garcia.
Regner said the towel could have been inadvertently taken home or left at the beach when the person went swimming.
“Proven or not, I apologize and I will pay for the towel with my personal money,” said Sitoy.
But Sitoy defended his personal driver, saying he is not a rude person, but rather, a jittery person.
He will also have him investigated even if the driver is not a Capitol employee.
Garcia said the hotel staff informed her staff that Sitoy's vehicle was parked at the entrance of the hotel.
When the driver was told to park at the designated parking area, the driver allegedly berated the staff.
“I will not countenance that here,” said Garcia.
At first, Garcia did not name Sitoy while addressing the alleged infractions of the staff, but later gave out the name to be fair to the other PB members.
The consultative meeting was aimed for the chief executive to present the administration’s achievements in the last six years.
Only two PB members did not attend—PB Member Peter John Calderon, who is out of the country, and PB Member Bea Mercede Calderon, the Sangguniang Kabataan representative, who had a school activity.
Meanwhile, Garcia said she found it strange for Sitoy to oppose a resolution that gave her the authority to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar).
She said the MOA is for the establishment of Enterprise Development Unit (EDU) in each local government unit and in compliance with a national policy laid out by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources under Bfar.
"I could not understand why he kept on objecting. I was told that this dragged the session on and on and on until he mentioned he was apprehensive that this may run counter to a Cordova (ordinance)," she added.
Garcia said Cordova turned over the management of a protected area to a private group, where Sitoy’s brother-in-law belongs.
"So now, I'm beginning to wonder why is he objecting to this?
Was it really for the general good or for a certain pecuniary interest as far as Cordova is concerned?" she added.
Sitoy said he was not opposed to the resolution but he only wanted to know the structure of EDU.
The former Cordova mayor also wanted to know the basis for establishing the EDU and the Integrated Coastal Resource Management Project (ICRMP).
He said the resolution, sponsored by PB Member Alex Binghay, has no attachment about the ICRMP.
"Is it wrong to ask?" he said.
He also denied he is protecting a brother-in-law.
But he admitted the wife of the Korean national, who manages the Nalusuan Island Resort and Marine Sanctuary in Cordova, is his half-sister.