HERE he comes again. Gov. Hilario Davide III is defending officials linked to alleged irregularities at the Capitol. This time, it is about the questionable release of butane products and equipment seized from a dealer in a joint operation with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Minglanilla police in May last year. The seized items were temporarily stocked at the Balili property owned by the Provincial Government in Naga City.

Capitol and DOE entered into an agreement to fight the illegal distribution of petroleum products that, if not properly handled, can cause fire. While the case is still pending before the court, “unseen hands” had the seized products given back to its owner claiming the case has been terminated. But DOE officials said the case is still pending before the court and questioned Capitol’s action when it is not part of the apprehending team and not a party of the court action.

Who ordered the release? The seized items were in the custody of the Provincial Government. I presume that the area is closely guarded by Capitol’s Civil Security Unit. A top Capitol official must have ordered the release. And who is this person? Now they are pointing at each other and the governor did not even conduct an investigation.

Had this not been exposed by our fellow columnist, Prof. Nestor Ramirez of the Cebu Daily News, we wouldn’t have known about it. This is not the first time that highly questionable transactions happened under Davide’s watch. Remember the culverts that were also sneaked out from the Balili property and “donated” to a private subdivision where Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino is residing and where he is head of the subdivision association?

Was an investigation conducted to determine who were responsible for that “questionable donation?” Nothing. Gikasab-an kuno ni Junjun si Tolentino apan gipalapus lang niya sa iyang pikas dunggan ang isyu.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Baltazar Tribunalo admitted that he received appliances from a donor whose identity he did not reveal. He denied receiving it for his personal gain saying it is for the office. Are government officials barred from receiving gifts or even token from private citizens especially if the “giver” has a transaction with his office?

I was informed that the “generous donor” is engaged in a sand and gravel and quarry operation. Tribunalo was the officer-in-charge of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) at that time. Isn’t that conflict of interest? But Junjun ignored this issue and instead defended Tribunalo.

Remember the bidding for the purchase of heavy and light equipment wherein the highest bidder won? Again Junjun ignored the call to fire those responsible for that questionable bidding. How about the bidding for Capitol’s security provider that was also anomalous?

Before he assumed as governor, Davide was perceived to be a “clean guy.” But as governor, he has been swallowed by the system and has been defending his people linked to irregularities. Either he knows about these shenanigans but chose to ignore them or he is part of a corrupt system. Just asking. Hilas kaayo ning mga pulitiko nga magpalimpyo-limpyo pero kwestyonable diay.