THE Negros Occidental Provincial Government is pushing for the expropriation of road lots in the property of Pulupandan Mayor Miguel Peña in Moises Padilla.

Although parties involved have agreed during a recent committee hearing that a status quo should be observed, Provincial Legal Officer Jose Maria Valencia insisted that the expropriation case that Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. was requesting should be pursued.

“It is stated in the Constitution that public funds must not be used to develop private properties. We are only straightening what is required by the law,” Valencia said.

Marañon requested the Provincial Board to pass an ordinance expropriating Peña’s property along Hacienda San Benito, Moises Padilla where a road that links the town proper to the national highway was built.

His request came after the negotiation between the provincial government and Peña “bogged down.”

“Basing on the minutes of the public hearing, the owner is not amenable to sell the land to the provincial government. This is why we are pushing for an expropriation ordinance with the Provincial Board,” Valencia said.

In July, the SP passed a resolution granting Marañon the authority to negotiate with Peña after receiving a petition signed by some residents who were allegedly not allowed to pass through the road.

Moises Padilla Mayor Ella Celestina Yulo refuted such incidents during last week’s public hearing.

The Provincial Government was only “misled” by the information, she said.

Yulo said she had the petition investigated and she discovered that some beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in the town were allegedly deceived to sign the petition.

The 4Ps beneficiaries thought that it was an attendance during one of their assemblies, she said.

Instead of pursuing an expropriation case, the provincial government should just use the money for the case to fund programs for the people, she said.

Valencia, however, said the case should be filed to prevent similar complaints in the future.

He also assailed government officials opposing the measure.

“I cannot understand these local government officials. You are supposed to side with the general welfare and what is good for the public,” Valencia said.