10-day extension given for affidavits
CEBU, Philippines - The members of the Cebu Provincial Board involved in the alleged anomalous purchase of the Balili property received a ten-day extension to file their counter-affidavits before the Office of the Ombudsman.
However, Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez, who is presently on leave, is set to file his counter-affidavit on Monday, the deadline set by the anti-graft office, said his counsel Oliveros Kintanar.
Kintanar did not ask for any extension to file the counter-affidavit of Sanchez.
Board member and acting Vice Governor Agnes Magpale said that the PB members involved asked for the extension because they shall only submit one affidavit to be signed by all except Sanchez and former board member Juan Bolo who have different charges to face.
Bolo said he has already filed his counter-affidavit last Thursday before the Ombudsman-Visayas.
Bolo said that his role, participation and involvement in the purchase of the property were to negotiate, facilitate, monitor and assist in the transfer of ten titles to the name of the Province of Cebu with the authority of the governor.
In a manifestation filed by one of the complainants, Crisologo Saavedra, he said that Sanchez is not part of the transaction as he was just presiding the PB session when the resolution authorizing Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to purchase the property was taken up.
Saavedra said that when the resolution was amended in the succeeding session, Sanchez was acting governor and the presiding officer was PB Member Victor Maambong.
Bolo and nine others will be charged separately for allegedly “conspiring and confederating with each other in the purchase of a land which is classified as timberland”.
Provincial Legal Officer Marino Martinquilla believes the counter-affidavit of the governor has been prepared already by her lawyer. He said he cannot act as governor’s counsel in this case except in cases where the Province of Cebu is the party involved.
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered Garcia, PB members led by Sanchez and other Capitol officials and employees involved in the purchase of the Balili property to submit their counter-affidavits within ten days.
The order of the Preliminary Investigation and Administrative Adjudication Bureau of the anti-graft body dated March 16 was received by the respondents last April 6.
The Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office of the Ombudsman Visayas found basis to upgrade into criminal and administrative cases an anonymous complaint filed against Garcia, Sanchez and the members of the PB over the purchase of the Balili property in Barangay Tinaan Naga City.
In an evaluation report released November last year, the anti-graft body said the government paid P78.6 million for submerged lots. Capitol paid a total of P99 million for the 24.9-hectare property.
The evaluation report said the governor ought to face a criminal case for entering into a contract “which is manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government” in violation of Section 3(g) of Republic Act 3019, or The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
A separate criminal case for gross inexcusable negligence against the governor, vice governor and 12 PB members over the absence of a feasibility study and “a thorough verification of the area to be purchased, taking into consideration the huge amount involved.”
The PB members at the time of the Balili land purchase in 2008 were Agnes Magpale, Victor Maambong, Peter John Calderon, Julian Daan, Wilfredo Caminero, Jose Ma. Gastardo, Rose Marie Durano, Joven Mondigo Jr., Wenceslao Gakit, Alfred Francis Ouano, Teresita Celis and Bea Mercede Calderon. (FREEMAN)