OPINION: A season to ask

Jan 27-feb 2, 2011


In everything there’s a season, so the adage says. Rainy days are coming and going now but the heat of the summer season would surely come, up next. It’s good there are rains now. At least, there’s deja vu and familarity brought by this current season’s wet tempest than we are ever confused by the swiftness of the drift and change of the global climate we have now.

In Davao del Norte’s Capitol front, we mean its field of governance, there seems to be turmoil before and after the bagging of the security services contract of the Christian Investigation Security Agency (CISA). There was that evident bypassing of the authority of the acting governor before the awarding of the contract and the snubbing of the invitation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan after the awarding of the contract. Whetever the legal assertions of the two parties, we still maintain that question of law and question of facts relating CISA’s contract must be settled by legal authorities- our courts owing to the unsettled issues that the two parties cannot obviously resolved within their means. This, unless silence or a gag order can be imposed to quell murmurs around. But this is going too far from the the unraveling of bared circumstances and obtained facts.

For one, new citations of facts are obtained like when CISA was required by Capitol executive officials- certainly not the governor who was still in the United States when the transaction happened- to comply one requirement that the CISA Tagum officers said to be insufficient/lacking. On the very day the contract was awarded, December 28, 2010, the document about a BIR tax certification (as recalled by CISA officers) was obviously scanned using a scanner and e-mailed by CISA Manila office directly to the Capitol. On the same day in our derived chronology, CISA was subsequently declared to have complied that one deficient/ lacking document making it the winning bidder for having the least calculated responsive bid. So for being responsive of its documents, CISA was then declared the final winner though its bid was only second to the lowest.  A question is immediately raised: Is a scanned, e-mailed document that is subsequently printed out a legal document allowable within the new procurement law? Certainly, this question is added to the existing questions about whether there is a need for the acting governor to issue a Notice to Proceed if the assertion that appointed officials have all the power to purchase goods and services is allowed to pass uncontested. And second, to the question on whether the contract with CISA should need to pass first for the prior authorization and approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan as expressed and implied in the Supreme Court ruling on Boardmembers Quisumbing et al versus Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu Province.

As in everything which has a season, the Davao del Norte provincial governance, too, has always its own season of victories and accomplishments as it has its own rare season of questionings and need for official clarifications and responses within the democratic order we have. The Davao del Norte Capitol  is a microcosm of the democratic society we have and it can never prevent issues sprining out like about processes vis-a-vis the laws and ideals of governance. Certainly, there is no grandstanding when issues emerged right from the provincial board that is composed of many minds. Much less there’s fishing expedition when the legislative department asks for resource persons with the aim that they be enlightened to render legislative support for the needs of the executive department, or in aid of legislation. If it is so shunted of that avenue to express, ask and inquire, then we better close down the legislative department for being just a rubberstamp of the much powerful executive department. But this cannot be as the general public will ultimately and surely ask, where’s the check and balance there?  – Cha Monforte


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