SENIOR provincial Board Member Atty. Dionisio D. Balite has challenged the administration of Gov. Edgar Chatto to produce the controversial Joint Venture Agreement (JVA), privatizing the former Provincial Public Utilities Department (PPUD) to Salcon company.n In his privelge speech, Balite said, in the name of transparency, he ?calls on the provincial leadership to initiate in furnishing every member of this August Body a copy of the Joint Venture Agreement and/or the Deed of Sale between the Province of Bohol and that of Salcon.
Baliti was prompted to deliver his piece during the regular session last week because he is very interested on the content of the ?confidentiality clause incorporated in the said agreement. The JVA that stirs fresh debate over the Ombudsman decision reversing its previous verdict dismissing the 15-year old case is still hounding key provincial officials. Recently, the Ombudsman has approved a Resolution to charge incumbent and former Bohol officials led by then Gov., now Congressman Rene L. Relampagos (1st dist) for violation of section 3, paragraph (g) of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in connection with the privatization of the PPUD then owned-and-managed by the province.
Contrary to the findings and recommendations of the investigating prosecutor to dismiss the instant case for lack of merit, the undersigned finds that there exists probable cause to indict the respondents for violation of Section 2, paragraph (g) of the law. It further said that it is most respectfully recommended that respondents be charged with such violation and corresponding information be filed against them,? the Resolution signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, pointed out. Aside from Relampagos, Gov. Edgar Chatto and board member Tomas D. Abapo, Jr.; and former board members Arnold R. Lungay, Felix R. Uy, Isabelito B. Tongco, Eufrasio M. Mascariñas, Exequiel A. Madriñan, Lemuel C. Digal, former provincial legal officer Inocentes C. Lopez, and Salcon officer Dennis Villareal be included in the filing of the case to Sandiganbayan, the Resolution said.
Following the sale of the PPUD, it resulted to what is now the Bohol Light Compnay, Inc (BLCI) and Bohol Water Utilities, Inc. (BWUI) that servicing the power and water needs of the city residents. The senior board member said that Bohol touted as the Best Governed province that is being trumpeted in the airlanes, tarpaulins and local newspapers. And the accolade ?speaks of transparency in governance. It illustrates care and correctness in the performance of a public concern. But he lamented this way when the JVA issue resurrected, saying, But with recent events in our province seems to demonstrate the lack of transparency in governance. It would seem that the Best Governed province was mistakenly awarded to our province.
How can we be the Best Governed province when transparency in governanceis denied of every Boholano,? he asked. He apparently blamed the confidentiality caluse? embedded in the JVA that make every Boholano being kept in the dark. He also questioned the ?confidentiality clause? incorporated in the JVA in
a government contract when the ?subject matter of the same contract are the basic needs of every Boholano. Why keep this secret in the confidentiality clause. When the provincial government entered into a contract with Salcon company containing the confidentiality clause, whose interest was served,? Balite said.
Balite reminded the government officials and employees by citing provision of the Constitution that ?public office is a public trust. And that public officials are bound to serve the public at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.