COLUMN: The Nabunturan bond float seducer

March 24-30,2011

By Cha Monforte

Ma’am Susan Querequincia, the audit team leader for Davao del Norte provincial government, will be elevating the audit case involving Christian Investigation Security Agency to her regional office particularly to COA-XI’s legal department to study and review it. Evidently, the purpose is only one- whether the contract awarded by the Bids and Awards Committee chaired by provincial general services officer Samson Sanchez is legal or not. She said in my interview that she and her supervising auditor Vivien Jumaoas have already discussed the matter. Presumbly, auditor Jumaos, who’s higher than Ma’am Querequincia in rank, has already studied and reviewed the documents relating the controversial contract, from the bidding to the awarding including the issue on signatory, and has the unresolved questions of Ma’am Querequincia sustained even if the Capitol management had already replied with an explanation letter to the COA audit memorandum. Thus, the issues pertaining the P6.3-million security contract have not been settled at both levels of Ma’am Querequincia and of Ma’am Jumaos. With this, meantime, we’ll wait for the final COA regional finding.
It’s not P80 million but P82 million that the administration of Nabunturan Mayor Romeo Clarin wants to borrow from a bank. We finally got hold of the draft ordinance this week from the Sangguniang Bayan’s finance committee chairman, Councilor and lawyer Carlo Ancla. He is once one of the oppositors’ legal counsels in the injunction case filed at the Regional Trial Court Branch 3 in Nabunturan where Judge Hilarion Clapis Jr is the presiding judge, who inhibited from the case as earlier petitioned by the respondents. Apparently, Atty. Ancla excused himself from the complainants’ legal panel which included Atty. Rex Lopoz after he won as councilor in the last election. Good that Councilor Ancla is leading in the move towards direct bank borrowing that the petitioners have been pushing for since the bond float opposition began during the last term of ex-Mayor Humol, particularly towards mid 2008. The SB of Humol’s last term is the body that actively pushed for the bond float on the dictates of the municipal financial consultant Preferred Ventures Corporation. The draft ordinance stated that the pro-bond flotation respondents, the majority of SB members during Humol’s last term, ex-Mayor Humol and ex-Vice Mayor Clarin (less now ex-Councilors Raul Caballero and Alfonso Tabas, and still incumbent and third-termer Councilor Editha Arangcon) had made a motion for reconsideration that “remains pending before the Supreme Court.” Without getting hold of the draft resolution, we could not have known that they had gone to the Supreme Court (but complainants were not just furnished a copy of their appeal).
More on the draft ordinance: Now it’s confirmed that the proposed bank loan would be used also “to buy-out the agreement” with the financial advisor/ consultant citing reason that there’s a buy-out provision of the Memorandum fo Agreement forged between the Humol administration and Preferred Ventures Corp an amount of P1.8 million. What? Preferred Ventures Corp would be paid when there was that approved terms of reference which says that the consultant would only be paid on “no cure, no pay” basis it proposed in the first place, and that would mean, the consultancy fee should not be paid if there would be no proceed from bonds? There’s no bond proceed yet being announced by Mayor Clarin or being heard by the Nabunturan public during the implementation of the municipal bond float in its construction phase. The Nabunturan public never heard of that. Again, we reiterate- it’s dangerous to pay the consultant, and it’s better that Mayor Clarin will prepare to wage a court battle against than pay the Preferred Ventures Corp to safeguard the public interest. In the first place, the consultant abandoned Humol, Clarin et al when it did not send any company representative to shed light on the bond flotation which it claimed to be the expert of at the sala of Judge Clapis during hearings on the injunction case. Judge Clapis had invited Preferred Ventures Corp and not a shadow of the consultant appeared in the courtroom. Had Preferred Ventures Corp sent its so-called bond flotation experts and thoroughly lectured the hearing court about bond flotation, Judge Clapis might have not issued the injunction stopping the bond flotation. And now the seducer wants to be paid of P1.8 million for the mess it created in the first place? The current SB should not fear not paying Preferred Ventures Corp because it had not done any good so far for the good of Nabunturan. It was the consultant’s so-called feasibility study that generated fears of the fire victim market vendors over loss of livelihood when it spelled out high rentals and advances that they could not afford. The FS started fears of the market vendors while the discouraging Local Finance Committee (LFC) report dated Sept. 7, 2007 laying down the disadvantages of bond float (vis-a-vis bank borrowing) and its unclear status in and repercussions to the established municipal accounting system such that “there would be undetermined expenses …. (which) will result in the problems in the budgeting and accounting process later” started the fears of opposing taxpayers. The LFC culled its statistics on the bond float from what has been given by the Preferred Ventures Corp. Now who started it all?
Meantime, we’ll wait on the developments of the proposed ordinance authorizing Clarin to contract an P82-million bank loan. With this, it’s confirmed that the current Nabunturan SB just shot down the recent measure repealing Municipal Ordinance 2008-10 (which authorized for the P90 million bond float), and at its stead, the ordinance authorizing Clarin to contract a bank loan is being pushed now for a new reading. The repealing ordinance was supposed to have already undergone first and second readings. They’re back to square one.
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