NOW, the cat is totally out of the bag, so to speak.
Gov. Hilario Davide III did not know about the “donation” of culverts owned by the Provincial Government to a high-end subdivision in Barangay Banilad where Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino resides and where he is also the president of the village’s homeowners’ association. I was right that the “donation” was only known up to the level of Tolentino and Provincial General Services Office (PGSO) chief John Sigfred Sepe.
This means the two Capitol officials bypassed the governor and the Provincial Board. Davide was out of the country when the issue broke out. Upon his return, he admitted he was disappointed and upset with what Tolentino and Sepe. Sources told me Davide scolded Tolentino in front of some Capitol officials and “angrily” told him to answer the Commission on Audit (COA) memorandum ordering them to explain the “donation.”
State auditors initially considered Tolentino’s and Sepe’s actions as violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Provincial Accountant Ramon Dumayac was also ordered to explain. In her memorandum, Cebu-province audit team leader Lolita Mercedes required Tolentino, Sepe and Dumayac to furnish their office the Requisition and Issue Slip (RIS) for the culverts.
Tolentino claimed that he requested the donation of the culverts to solve the flooding problem in St. Michael’s Subdivision. The project was undertaken last August. Sepe had claimed that what was needed was only the RIS because unused or deteriorating government properties can already be disposed through auction, bidding or donation after 10 years. Maybe Sepe forgot that culverts last long as these are made of cement.
Besides, there was no COA inventory before the culverts were donated. I think the COA failed to ask Tolentino and Sepe to submit the duly approved travel order and trip tickets for the vehicle used to transport and ferry the culverts from the Balili property to St. Michael’s Village. Every government vehicle must have an approved travel order and trip tickets before any travel can be made.
Tolentino was also accused of hiring Capitol’s job order employees to undertake the work. He claimed that the homeowners paid the workers. But why did they underwent biometrics after their official working hours? So that they can still claim overtime pay?
Now, I ask the honorable governor. After being upset and disappointed over Tolentino’s and Sepe’s act, what is your next move? Will you not impose sanctions to discipline those committing wrongdoings right before your own eyes? This is not the first time Tolentino and Sepe committed a questionable deal at the Capitol. They were members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) that conducted that “questionable” bidding for the purchase of heavy and light equipment where the highest bidder was declared as winner.
If Gov. Davide cannot impose disciplinary actions against these people, I would consider him a weak leader. He is tolerating corruption in his administration. Mora ni siya’g tawo-tawo sa humayan. Among tawag ana didto sa Mindanao, “pahoy.”