TAGBILARAN CITY – Outspoken former Bohol officer-in-charge governor Atty. Victor dela Serna, now the number one critic of Gov. Chatto administration, vowed yesterday to return his honoraria he received during his stint as director of the Bohol Light Company, Inc. (BLCI). He said he is not that greed to keep on the money in the amount of Php1.3 million he received since he represented the provincial government to the BLCI board of directors during Chatto’s administration.
Dela Serna said he just wanted ample time for him to be ready to return the said amount to the governor during the radio program anchored by the late Engr. Maurito Lim over DyRD yesterday now hosted by Alan Mangmang.
Chatto, who is said to be stung by Dela Serna’s tirade, booted him out as board of director following the approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution recently.
He was replaced by another to represent the province which has 30% stakes in the BLCI and Bohol Water Utilities, Inc. (BWUI), the twin public utilities being privatized during the administration of then governor now congressman Rene Relampagos.
It will be recalled that the Ombudsman has approved a Resolution to charge incumbent and former Bohol officials led by then Gov., now Congressman 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 then Provincial Public Utilities Department (PPUD) owned 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.
In effect, it has reversed its earlier decision junking the said criminal case. The complaint stemmed from the alleged under-valuation of the assets of PPUD’s power and water systems of the provincial government when it was privatized, which the complainants (one of them happened to be Dela Serna) claimed as disadvantageous to the government.
Section 3, par. (g) provides, “Entering, on behalf of the government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.”
Named respondents in the Ombudsman Resolution, aside from Relampagos, are then Vice-Gov. and now governorChatto; provincial board members Tomas D. Abapo, Jr.; Arnold R. Lungay, Felix R. Uy, Isabelito B. Tongco, Eufrasio M. Mascariñas, Exequiel A. Madriñan, Concepcion O. Lim (who is now vice-governor), Lemuel C. Digal, former provincial legal officer Inocentes C. Lopez and Salcon owner Dennis Villareal.
Not included in the chages are then provincial board members Godofreda O. Tirol and Roberto Cajes since they abstained from voting of the endorsement of the joint venture with Salcon company. Tirol is now the incumbent board member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Cajes once served as congressman of the second district of Bohol.
Aside from Dela Serna, the complainants include Atty. Zotico Ochavillo, Wilfrido Gatal, Zenaido Rama, Atty. Aster Apalisok-Piollo, Atty. Myrna Trabajo Pagsuberon, and Zenaida Darunday and others. They filed the said case sometime in 1999 before the office of the Ombudsman regional office. The said case is docketed as OMB-VIS-CRIM-2000-1040 based on the said Resolution, Dela Serna said in earlier interview. (rvo)