COMMENTARY: Insult to position

Feb 10-16, 2011

Fresh official actions are coming out now relating to the controversy on the security services contract bagged by the Christian Investigation Security Agency for the Davao del Norte provincial government.

On Tuesday, Governor Rodolfo del Rosario met with the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan including Vice Governor Victorio Suaybaguio Jr purposefully “to patch up perceved differences” relating to the CISA controversy, and so far we heard that the dinner-meeting failed to resolve issues relating to the CISA transaction as the meeting was reportedly more of a monologue than a dialogue (although at this writing we still don’t know what really happened).

If things on the current controversy over the CISA transaction can be appraised by the public, the attention to what has been let out thus far by concerned officials on events and official statements relating the issues is valuable. The matter at hand is a public interest issue given the key figures or entities essential to provincial governance involved in here- the executive and legislative departments, and consequently their current relationship, the controversy’s implications to politics, and each of their powers that have apparently collided. Above all, this is about transparency and public accountability as the CISA transaction was obviously kept under wraps during the December 20, 2010-Jan. 8, 2011 incumbency of the acting governor whose position is ought to be respected by the Capitol Triumvirate composed of provincial administrator Rufo Peligro, Bids and Awards Committee chairman and PGSO Samson Sanchez and provincial legal officer Atty. Jennifer Namoc, even if shall we say the person temporarily occupying the acting governorship is not to be respected.

Still, there are new questions to be asked – now particularly on what happened in the hours of December 20, 2010 when the transaction was awarded to CISA. What were the deficiences of the lowest bidder United Field Sea Watchman and Checkers Agency (UFSWCA) that it was knocked out by the BAC on that day? What time was it when the BAC decided to knock out UFSWCA? What was the gap of time on that same day when CISA was informed that it was the bid winner and the time when CISA Manila headquarters e-mailed the lacking/insufficient document? The Notice of Award, as told by CISA Tagum Branch officials, was dated and presumably received on the same day. What time was it received? Verily, there was only a matter of hours that the probing COA auditor can count from one BAC activity to another last Dec. 20 while really the concerned executive officials led by Peligro were racing a limited time as the year 2010 was almost about to end.

Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 were still working days and within these days they had never formally informed the sitting acting governor about the CISA transaction like he was made a scarecrow in the field. Who is he who sit as the acting governor from Dec. 20-Jan. 8? He is an elected vice governor and by the law he was serving as the very governor at that period, who had all the powers of the governor except the (hiring and) firing of the triumvirate. He was a former mayor for THREE TERMS of the city of Tagum, and one of the few living senior politicians-incumbent in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley provinces, a so cautious and careful chief executive in matters of government finances and governmental rules and regulations, also a stateman (to borrow an apt description of Tagum City Vice Mayor Allan Rellon). And evidently, they bypassed Vice Gov. Suaybaguio when they hid all the BAC bidding and awards documents from him and had ordered- by their obsessed reasoning and invocation of the new law on government procurement- the posting of the CISA guards on the New Year’s Day, a manpower change that is certaintly new when it threw out over 60 contractual security personnel from their work, their source of livelihood for their respective families, and drastically changed the way the security is handled for the Capitol.

They, fearing for a vacuum of security? This is a cute reasoning as the sitting acting governor has all the powers to mobilize personnel and resources for the exigency of public service and demand obedience from the provincial police to beef up the 17 remaining permanent guards to secure the Capitol while contract issues have yet to be resolved, command virtues which cannot and will not be fully found in the appointed officials. The last thing the triumvirate should do pending the COA finding is to apologize in public to the vice governor for insulting his position mandated by the people and law. (cha monforte)

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