VG, BMs MEET AT MIKO’S BREW “TO STRENGTHEN RANKS” AMIDST CISA CONTROVERSY

Feb 17-23,2011

After last week’s Tahanan dinner with RDR

TAGUM CITY- A luncheon meeting of Capitol’s legislative officials was reportedly held Wednesday at the posh Miko’s Brew resto-coffee bar intended to “strengthen their ranks” following last week’s dinner meeting with them and Governor Rodolfo del Rosario at the Tahanan ng Lalawigan at the Mankilam Capitol.

“It’s more of a fellowship meeting where we shared concerns … to strengthen our ranks,” said Floorleader Boardmember Daniel Lu in an interview.

He said that almost all of the regular and ex-officio boardmembers were present in the meeting with Vice Governor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio Jr.

Councilors’ league representative Janrey Gavina, he said, managed to arrive but late, while the provincial liga ng barangay representative Vincent “Enteng” Floirendo was not around.

Other sources said that the issues on the contract controversy involving the Christian Investigation Security Agency (CISA) were tackled during the meeting, and there was apparent consensus among them to leave the issue to the Commission on Audit to decide whether it is legal or not, a stance earlier intimated to the media by Vice Gov. Suaybaguio.

Last week, Capitol’s COA auditor Susan Querequincia said that she would have to check and study yet the “signatory, legality and scope of the contract” and in two weeks time she could have her audit findings bared to the local media.

Also last week, the vice governor reiterated that he is “leaving to the decision of COA” the issue as to whether the security services contract signed between the governor and the CISA is legal or not.

When pressed to comment anew on the transaction that had him and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan apparently bypassed by some executive department officials led by provincial administrator Rufo Peligro, the vice governor said he better not comment further except saying that he did not know in details the transaction as he was not formally informed by Peligro and was not furnished even of a single bidding and award document nor was there a Notice to Proceed to CISA as required by the new government procurement law.

Earlier, as to the claim of provincial Bids and Awards Committee chairman Samson Sanchez that they “could not afford the vacuum of security services” when the contract was awarded to CISA on Dec. 28, 2010 and implemented four days after on Jan. 1, 2011, the vice governor said that considering there was a need yet to assure the papers relating the transaction he could have called in then the assistance of the provincial police to beef up the remaining 17 permanent security personnel in protecting the Capitol complex while all requirements under the law on government procurement have yet to be completed and the issue of the contract’s legality like as to whether the contract has to pass the provincial board or not is yet to be resolved.

“Whatever would happen to the Capitol, by command responsibility, I am responsible to it,” he said the last week referring to Dec. 20, 2010 to January 8, 2011 when he served as the acting governor as the governor travelled to the United States to visit his son District 1 Congressman Anthony del Rosario in time of the Christmas Season.

Both Peligro and Sanchez said the transaction is legal and that they were duly following procedures spelled by the new government procurement law.
At presstime, the Valley & City Chronicle tried but failed get comments about the Miko’s meeting from the vice governor.

But the meeting has fueled speculations from pundits that it might have been an offshoot of the last Tuesday evening dinner with the governor at Tahanan where the latter reportedly gave much of the talk about the task of the SP than drawing the concerns of the attending 9 regular boardmembers in the midst of the controversy about the sudden awarding and implementation of the CISA’s contract.

In that meeting, sources said, the vice governor reportedly aired his side and some issues of the legislative department.

Boardmember Antonio Lagunzad was not present in the dinner-meeting. But days after the meeting, sources added that Lagunzad had told a boardmember he did not attend the affair fearing “they might be scolded by the governor.”

Reports said that the Tahanan dinner-meeting, called in a news report as a “patching up” meeting to “resolve perceived differences”, failed yet to resolve the CISA contract controversy.

It would be recalled that the governor had earlier charged to questioning SP members to be “grandstanding” and “had overstepped on their responsibility as local legislators when they insisted the presence of two of his most trusted lieutenants before the august body.”

The “two of his most trusted lieutenants” are reportedly Peligro and Sanchez, who were earlier tagged to have bypassed Suaybaguio, who was the acting governor when the contract was bidded and awarded to CISA last Dec. 20 and Dec. 28, respectively.
Gov. Del Rosario also said that he does “not care if they do grandstanding everyday. But, if it affects the integrity of the executive branch, we cannot allow them to go ahead and step on our toes.”

But the governor’s media statements did not sit well to the boardmembers, one of whom told earlier this paper that instead of issuing such “he should have instead investigated his men who put him in the bad light.”

The governor’s “grandstanding” charges to the SP followed when earlier several boardmembers riled and slammed Peligro and CISA owner Rolando dela Cruz for snubbing their invitation to shed light on the CISA’s contract, which is being questioned for being allegedly rushed by Peligro and the provincial BAC last late December and implemented on Jan. 1, 2011 bypassing the power of Acting Gov. Suaybaguio to issue the Notice to Proceed to CISA.

Boardmember Alan Dujali also earlier dropped a Supreme Court ruling in a Cebu provincial case which in his view was pertinent for the security services contract to pass first for the prior authority of the SP before the governor’s signing of the contract with the CISA.

The privatization of the security services in the Capitol with the CISA’s entry had thrown out over 60 contractual security personnel from their work as the governor deactivated the Civil Security Services. (cha monforte)

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