Whoever hanged that yellow streamer that bears the phrase “Corruption-Free Institution” atop the Capitol building had better back it up with solid facts, lest that claim be disproved in court.
Unlike the yellow streamer that was hung across the badly damaged Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) which highlighted the irregularities that went into building that structure — irregularities that are now being questioned in court — the “Corruption-Free Institution” streamer hung across the Capitol building facade is a bold, presumptuous claim made likely by the incumbent administration that is open to both challenge and debate.
One need only mention the current uncertain status of the P250 million heavy equipment deal which the Provincial Board (PB) committee, chaired by Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III’s ally, PB member Grecilda Sanchez-Zaballero, recommended for rebidding as the biggest challenge on that “Corruption-Free Institution” tag.
To recall, the PB committee questioned the awarding of the deal to ConEquip which submitted the highest bid to the project despite the fact that its equipment didn’t meet the specifications for the project.
Worse, the committee also learned that another firm supposedly connected to ConEquip Philippines Inc., Mighty Brothers Heavy Equipment, offered the same equipment at less than P3 million.
The Bids and Awards Committee chaired by Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino insisted that the deal was “above board,” but the PB committee recommendation said otherwise.
To date, the explanations offered by the governor’s staff had failed to erase suspicions of irregularities in the deal, and the One Cebu party had made political capital of this issue in an apparent rebuttal of the Davide administration’s refusal to act on the CICC’s state of disrepair.
Now there’s this greening program which One Cebu’s Winston Garcia claimed had selectively chosen as beneficiaries the allies of the Davide administration in Cebu’s third district.
Though the program may be above board and administration officials may only be too willing to have it assessed by the Commission on Audit (COA), questions on the timing of the allocation of funds barely days before the election and how it was prioritized over the allocation of more urgent funds and assistance for farmers hard hit by the El Niño dry spell cannot be dismissed nor ignored regardless if they were raised by a political rival.
We realize that no administration is perfect, but the Davide administration making a rather brash claim that they are “corruption-free” not only boomerangs back at them but flies flat and smack straight in the face of issues like the ConEquip deal that they have yet to fully answer satisfactorily.
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