OPINION: Questions beyond the grandstanding charge

Feb 3-9, 2011

BLOGISTA

By Cha Monforte

We heard that the resident auditor for the Davao del Norte provincial government has yet to receive the documents relating the contract and the bidding where the Christian Investigation Security Agency (CISA) won to secure the Capitol for this year. The Commission on Audit resident auditor Susan Querequincia would still review the contract and bidding papers. We know there are contentious, in fact crucial issues relating this transaction. Big questions remain to be answered and resolved, like:

1. Will the SP first approve the contract or or enact a resolution authorizing the governor to sign and transact with CISA for and in behalf of the provincial government before the BAC-declared bid winner CISA commence its work as the new security agency of the Mankilam Capitol? Or is there still a need for a contract with CISA as CISA guards took control of the security of the Capitol on January 1, 2011 without the benefit of the contract, and with it merely having the Notice of Award, without the Notice to Proceed from the rightful head of agency, which was Vice Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio Jr, who was the acting governor from Dec. 20, 2010 to January 8, 2011?

2. Is there no longer a need to have a contract and the SP’s prior approval because the budget, security services, is already included in the annual budget which was already approved earlier by the SP?

3. Is the act of provincial administrator Rufo Peligro, provincial general services  officer and BAC chairman Samson Sanchez and provincial legal officer Jennifer Namoc legal when they never had asked the sitting acting governor to sign any document relating to the bidding and CISA contract as they called in the CISA guards to move in on January 1, 2011 to secure the Capitol and while Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario was on official leave and was in the US visiting his son Cong. Anthony del Rosario?

4. Is it legal that there would be no need to have the signature of the acting governor in the Notice of Award sent to the winning bidder, CISA?

5. Under the new government procurement law, there is a need to issue a Notice to Proceed seven days from the approval of the contract. Are Peligro and BAC members culpable when they did not inform the acting governor about the transaction, nor furnished him copies of bidding and award documents and when there was no Notice to Proceed made by the acting governor for the CISA to move in to secure the Capitol?

Given these big, crucial questions that sprang out from the Supreme Court’s Dec. 8, 2008 ruling (G.R. 175527) on Boardmembers Gabriel Quisumbing et al versus Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu Province which was raised on the floor by Boardmember Alan Dujali on the SP session last January 17, can we now say that Dujai et al were grandstanding as charged lately by Gov. Del Rosario unto them?

Interpreted otherwise, the governor’s words unto the SP were short of saying, stop your questioning about the CISA contract.  But since that the COA has yet to review and have its findings on the transaction with CISA, questions would keep on coming and new facts would unravel. Already, in our interview with CISA Tagum Branch officials, it was said that on Dec. 28, 2010 when CISA Tagum was informed to comply one lacking/ insufficient requirement, the CISA Manila office sent an e-mail “direct to the Capitol”. The  lacking requirement was about a BIR document, and from where we sit, it is presumably a document scanned by a scanner and sent via the e-mail on the same day, Dec. 28, 2010, the same day when the Notice of Award was dated and presumably sent to CISA Tagum. New questions arise from this: Is a scanned document and sent in e-mail a proper document? Why did the concerned Capitol executive officials not wait for the authentic, hard copy of the document sent thru a courier, a CISA man taking the plane for personal delivery or using any of the commercial couriers around?

Who now overstep on their functions? The SP which the governor called to have no congressional powers to forcibly call resource persons, or the concerned executive officials who have neither powers to arrogate themselves as more powerful than the elected officials like the acting governor at that time?

Evidently, the charge of the governor that SP members were grandstanding over the CISA transaction is unfair and uncalled for. It belittles them and smacks the SP’s role as also an instrumentality that counterbalance and temper the authority of the chief executive within the corporate powers of the provincial government.

Without the SP’s approval of annual budget on or before Dec. 31 for each year, the previous year’s annual budget would be reeneacted, and so the sitting governor would be a loser, if not became a lameduck governor for he cannot pursue his new thrusts  and new projects for the new year without a covering SP approval. I recall- that had happened already in Compostela Valley provincial government in years 2005 and 2006 when the majority of the boardmembers blocked the executive budgets of the ex-Gov. Jose “Joecab” Caballero. The former governor, facing a hostile, filibustering opposition SP majority (I dubbed then as the “Comval SP Eight”- it was a long interesting story first punctuated by ex-BM Trino Tirol’s “Alona or Astrodome” pribelibs spit during the 2005-2006 budget wars) had only his impact projects not completed while he scoured only on what the yearly statutory obligations would permit him to do so. But Joecab largely could not initiate new projects and new thrusts including the allocation of big political budgets for the hiring of additional job order personnel who would become electoral campaigners during the political year and campaigns seasons and for the expenditures for the organizing and mobilizations of sectors for political purposes as well as for the populist projects and services like mass feeding program, distribution of Philhealth cards and like. The Comval SP’s obstructionist 2005-2006 precedent showed that indeed sanggunians moving in majority have real powers to challenge their powerful chief executives no matter what their political goal or motivation is.

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