Butane refilling machines also find their way out of Balili
If you think that only concrete culverts are illegally brought out of the Balili property, think again.
That’s because two sets of refilling machines for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), delivery trucks, canisters and LPG tanks also find their way out of the controversial property that also serves as the Capitol’s impounding area.
I thought that it is only in Cebu City that the distribution of LPG filled butane canisters are tolerated by the local administration. It is actually worse in the province because the confiscated tools used in an illegal operation were released back to its owners.
On July 7, 2017, the Governor’s Office issued a memorandum signed by Atty. Ramil P. Abing for the release of two delivery vans, LPG tanks, air compressor, weighing scale, LPG refilling machines.
The release order signed by Abing was based on the recommendation of Atty. Donato C. Villa of the Provincial Legal Office that is headed by Atty. Orvie Ortega.
The items mentioned above were supposedly evidence of the case filed by DOE against a certain Maria Amor Mahinay whose warehouse in Barangay Vito Minglanilla was raided by the police in the evening of May 19, 2017.
Mahinay was found to be operating a butane refilling station in violation of Presidential Decree 1865 for illegal trading of petroleum product.
Mahinay pleaded guilty to the charges and was found guilty by the court which rendered the confiscated equipment and vehicles forfeited in favor of the government.
This meant that the equipment and vehicles should never be released back to the owner for the reason that these were used as tools in committing a crime.
The impounded equipment was stored in the Balili property with the Capitol’s permission because the DOE didn’t have their own impounding area.
If one wonders why the distribution of illegal butane canisters filled with LPG is still rampant in Metro Cebu despite several apprehensions made by the police and DOE, this could have been courtesy of the trusted lieutenants of Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide Jr.
The release of the butane refilling equipment is more scandalous than the release of the government-owned concrete culverts used in a drainage project inside an exclusive subdivision in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City.
At least the culverts were put up to solve a drainage project, only that the people benefiting from it are not the right recipients.
In contrast, the butane refilling machines are used to corner money exploiting the poor families who rely on a dangerous and risky way to cook their food.
To illustrate how swift Abing, Villa and Ortega orchestrated the release of the forfeited materials: July 4, Judge Veronico Sardoncillo convicted Mahinay; July 5, Villa recommended for the release of the equipment; July 7, the office of Davide issued a memorandum signed by Abing directing the Provincial General Services Office to release the confiscated items.
I could not fathom why Abing, Villa, and Ortega allowed the release of the property considering that those were tools used in committing a crime and forfeited in favor of the government. It could only be disposed of following strict government regulation.
Even if Davide would wash his hands off the transaction of his three trusted men, he could not escape from liability because the memorandum came from his office.
Although the memorandum did not have the governor’s signature, it is still under his command responsibility and his name could be dragged if cases will be filed against Abing, Villa and Ortega.
After the culvert and the LPG refilling machine, I know there will be more illegal transactions that will be exposed against Davide’s administration.
Aside from expressing disappointment on the release of the concrete culvert that involves his provincial administrator, the public is yet to see tangible action coming from the governor imposing discipline on his trusted men.
If Davide will continue to ignore the allegations against his appointed officials, he would have a hard time convincing the public that his administration is free from fraud and corruption.
By not doing anything against these allegations is tantamount to saying that Mr. Davide is also committing deceit in his administration by allowing questionable transaction under his nose by his subordinates.
My only hope that DOE will file a case against Davide’s men or even implead the governor based on the doctrine of command responsibility.
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