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Friday, July 19, 2019

Guv, brother-in-law assert sports center privately-run

BROTHERS-IN-LAW Yevgeny “Bambi” Emano, Misamis Oriental governor, and President “Prexy” Elipe, general manager of the Misamis Oriental Integrated Sports Center (MOISC), are standing pat on their claim that the body tasked to run the affairs of the Sports Center is a “private” entity, notwithstanding the fact that the sports complex was built using public money and stands on government land.

In their response to the complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, Emano and Elipe argue that the MOISC has been operating as a “private” body since 1977.

In his counter affidavit, Elipe said the official adoption of the name “Misamis Oriental Integrated Sports Council,” pending approval of its Constitution and By-Laws, was made during a regular meeting of the Sports Council held on 2 September 1977.

Similarly, Emano said Section 4 of Article IX of the same Constitution and By-Laws is “clear and unequivocal to make it a private non-stock corporation” and from then on, “the Sports Center has operated itself as such private corporation.”

It is, however, unclear how the two arrived at that conclusion as Elipe, in the same letter to the Ombudsman, admitted that the proposed Constitution and By-Laws was “never approved and adopted.”

"If you ask me how did that happen, I don't know because it has always been that way,” Elipe, in an interview Friday, said.

"If they really want to question the integrity of MOISC, you should sue the whole council, and not just single us out," he added.

The Sports Council or the Board of the Sports Center is composed of the provincial governor of Misamis Oriental as chairman; the city mayor of Cagayan de Oro as first vice chairman; the Department of Education (DepEd) regional director for Region X as second vice chairman; the Misamis Oriental Division Superintendent; the City Division superintendent of Cagayan de Oro; and the principal of the Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School (MOGCHS).

Elipe, as general manager, executes and implements the policies and programs of the Sports Center as approved by the Board.

Only Emano and Elipe are respondents in a complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The two have been charged with malversation of public funds or property, unlawful appointments, grave abuse of authority, grave misconduct, nepotism, and violation of the Code of Conduct & Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The complaint was filed by Ernesto Molina, a city hall “job order” worker.

Elipe said since January 1977, the sports council, as a “private employer” has been registered with the Social Security System (SSS) as “Integrated Sports Foundation Incorporated,” and that its 23 employees are duly registered with the SSS.

He said they draw their salaries and wages from the generated funds from minimal fees for the use of sports facilities.

The Sports Center also has several spaces that it is renting out to government and private entities.

All funds of the sports council are deposited in the banks, and its use are approved by the council.

Emano earlier claimed that the sports center's income last year was P5 million.

Likewise, Emano, despite being the chairman of the Sports Council, denied having a hand in the appointment of Elipe as general manager.

“The minutes of the regular monthly meeting held last 20 July 2016 of the Council would readily show that no such nomination or appointment was made by me for Mr. Elipe to become the General Manager of the Sports Center. As can be read therefrom, Mr. Elipe was elected to the said position by the Council, without my nomination, without my recommendation, and without my vote,” Emano, in his affidavit, said.

The governor also said Elipe’s position is not “one of those positions identified in the Civil Service as either career service or non-career service” and as such, “not a public office.”

As for the allegations that he violated the Constitutional ban on the appointment of losing candidates within one year after the election, Emano said he could not be guilty since Elipe does not occupy a public office.

Elipe, a former Cagayan de Oro city councilor who in 2016 ran for a seat in the Provincial Board of Misamis Oriental but lost, began serving as a MOISC general manager on July 2016.

“I am just following what the previous administrations had been doing. If they suspect corruption, they should also say that to the previous admins," Elipe said regarding his current troubles as MOISC general manager.

Elipe and Emano earlier tagged City Mayor Oscar Moreno, a political rival, as the brains behind the complaint filed by Molina at the Ombudsman.

Before becoming city mayor, Moreno was a three-term governor of Misamis Oriental.

Vicente “Dongkoy” Emano, the family patriarch, also served as provincial governor for 10 years, from 1988 to 1998.
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