jan 20-26, 2011

 By Cha Monforte

Hell hath no fury than a woman snubbed.

“This snub both by the executive and De la Cruz is a day of mourning, a day of distress, a day of rebuke and a day of disgrace,” declared Boardmember Shirley Belen Aala (Tagum City, District 1) in a privilege speech she delivered last Monday’s session in so thunderous voice when it turned out that the three officials whom the Sangguniang Panlalawigan earlier invited to shed light about the contract of the private security firm now securing the Capitol did not appear.

“We are for advocacy. We want to ask. Why are not we given this chance of being heard? I hope that this day of mourning for me, my birthday at that, will give a lesson to people who are trying to snub our invitation,” Aala spoke melodramatically at times at the top her voice and pledged to wear black by next Monday’s session.

Several SP members were obviously up in their arms in the last session appearing that the legislative department is going on a collision course with the executive department as triggered by the sudden privatization of security services in the Capitol which has thrown out over 60 contractual personnel from their work.

Last week, the SP invited provincial administrator Rufo Peligro, provincial Bids and Awards Committee chairman Samson Sanchez and one Rolando de la Cruz, the manager of the Christian Investigation and Security Agency (CISA) which bagged the contract for the Capitol’s security services following the deactivation of the Civil Security Services by Governor Rodolfo del Rosario.

The three did not attend. Instead, a letter from provincial legal officer Jennifer Namoc was sent to the SP stating that “by the authority of the governor” the presence of Peligro and Sanchez “was not essential”.

In an interview Wednesday, Peligro said that the “it’s the governor who told them so not to attend.” He added that the CISA’s contract need not pass for approval of the SP as it is a case of procurement of services following provisions of Republic Act No. 9184 otherwise known as Government Procurement Reform Act. “We have a new law and they’re banking on the old law.” (see related story).

During last Monday’s privilege hour, Aala asked why Peligro and Sanchez cannot attend and she was particularly furious to the “snubbing” of De la Cruz.

“Is he (De la Cruz) covered by the governor’s letter that he should not attend? He should have sent a formal letter as a sign of respect… He has no respect to this august body!” Aala fumed in her impromptu speech.

Earlier, several boardmembers charged that they were not consulted and bypassed by the executive department when the contract for the security services was awarded to CISA.

Following Aala’s speech, several boardmembers took turns lamenting over the absence of the invited officials.

Boardmember Raymond Joey Millan (TagumCity, District 1) questioned who could determine “what is essential and what is not essential” as stated in Atty. Namoc’s letter to the SP.

Boardmember Alan Dujali (Panabo City, District 2) informed the body of a Supreme Court ruling about the case filed  by 4 boardmembers of Cebu SP against Gov. Gwendolyn Quisumbing as stated in the Supreme Court decision in G.R. 175527 dated December 8, 2008 affirming that there is a need to secure prior authorization of the provincial board before the governor would enter into contracts committing the province to monetary obligations.

Earlier, Dujali in his own privilege speech said that had the legislative been informed first before CISA’s entry they could have raised questions on how many personnel would be affected and retrenched.

He was concerned on what the provincial government would do to those suddenly thrown out from their work, the fathers and children especially at this time when the school year is ending.

But Boardmember Antonio Lagunzad (TagumCity, District 1) said: “This is a ticklish issue that would irritate (the executive department). If this issue is not resolved then we would not have a harmonious relationship in the provincial governance.” He called for a joint executive and legislative meeting to solve the problem.

Boardmember Hernanie Duco (Carmen, District 2), on the other hand, said that he had served 9 years in the SP before his current term but it is only this time that the SP has been snubbed by those it invited.

He added that the executive-legislative meeting is urgently needed to avert a “civil war between the executive and the legislative.”  

But Boardmember Ely Dacalus (PanaboCity, District 2) asked,” Are they hiding something? Are they afraid of interpellation (that) something wrong will come out?…How could we work harmoniously when there are many lapses committed?”

He said Peligro “was here last year even without our invitation” when the latter sought confirmation for his appointment. (cha monforte)


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