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Bacolod City, PhilippinesMonday, April 22, 2013
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PUENTEVELLA DARED
Explain deposit of P50.5M gov’t funds to personal bank account

Nationalist People’s Coalition-Grupo Progreso congressional candidate Evelio Leonardia and mayoralty candidate Jude Thaddeus Sayson challenged former congressman Monico Puentevella to admit and explain to Bacoleños why he deposited the P50.5 million funds of government to his own personal bank account.

The challenge was hurled by the camp of Leonardia and Sayson as the camp of Puentevella continues to claim in public that the incumbent officials of the city are facing numerous plunder charges before the office of the Ombudsman, while insisting that his plunder complaint was instigated by his political enemies at the Philippine Sports Commission, a press release from NPC-GP said.

The group said Puentevella, being a commissioner of the PSC, and Bacolod as one of the hosts of the Southeast Asian Games in 2005, was the recipient of multi-million funds from the national government.

But Puentevella deposited to his personal current bank account no. 1422-15860 at Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation Bacolod Branch, four checks entrusted to him by the PCS, amounting to P50.5 million in separate occasions, the release said.

GP also learned that the Commission on Audit, through state auditor Mario Lipana, in his audit report, concluded that BASOC through Puentevella failed to liquidate all the advance payments/funds released to him by the PSC intended for the SEA Games.

Lipana demanded many times for the liquidation report from Puentevella which took him three years, after the hosting of the event, to finally submit them, the release said.

The liquidation report submitted by Puentevella to Lipana, however, was considered “garbage” as supporting documents submitted by the former solon were highly questionable, as these comprised mostly check vouchers and unregistered cash receipts, it said.

After he failed to justify where the funds went, Lipana demanded that Puentevella return the P50.5 million entrusted to him by the PSC, or proper charges will be filed against him, it added.

PSC CHAIRMAN FILED CHARGES

On September 14, 2009, then PSC chairman and Ambassador Harry Angping filed a complaint against Puentevella for violating Republic Act 7080, or the Anti-Plunder Law, before the Department of Justice which it duly approved under IS No.XVI-INV-091-00662, the release said.

NPC-GP stressed that it was not Leonardia or Sayson or anybody identified with the current city administration who initiated the filing of the plunder complaint before the Department of Justice in Manila.

The city government of Bacolod had nothing to do with the filing of plunder complaint against Puentevella, contrary to the alleged plunder charges concocted by individuals clearly identified with the former congressman, the release said.

Grupo Progreso maintained that the alleged plunder charges filed against the city officials were orchestrated by Sarah Esguerra and Victor Eduardo, two rabid supporters of Puentevella, the press release said.

RETALIATORY

The plunder charges, like all other charges filed against the city officials, are all retaliatory acts by the other camp to get back at the city officials, and for obvious political reasons.

Asked for comment, Ramon Viva, the spokesperson of MKK, said it is an old rehashed issue. He claimed that is why it was not given attention by the Ombudsman and DOJ, saying it was a simple case of liquidation unlike the cases filed against Leonardia and Sayson who were asked to file their answer, he claimed.

ADMISSION

Viva said that because of time constraints, the checks were deposited in the personal account of Puentevella. How can he deposit it in the bank if it does not bear his name? he asked.

He claimed the first check was only issued two days before the opening of the SEA Games and was spent on the sports complex, and only the Grupo Progreso and columnist Modesto Sa-onoy are not aware of it.*CGS

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City explains Ceneco dues

Independent Bacolod congressional candidate Lyndon Caña said Mayor Evelio Leonardia does not mention that the city has a total accumulated obligation to Central Negros Electric Cooperative for unpaid bills to the tune of allegedly P220 million or more.

This is a long standing problem of the city with Ceneco, which has not been resolved despite his nine years in office from 2004 to 2013, Caña said in a press release.

Leonardia, however, said that even past administrations, since the Montelibano administration, had refused to pay Ceneco since they insist that the electric cooperative is supposed to pay franchise taxes to the city because it is not exempted from doing so.

That is a legal matter in the courts, and Caña was aware of this even when he was yet a councilor of Bacolod.

Leonardia also said there is no local government that has no account with Ceneco. If the city goes beyond the limit allowed, Ceneco would cut off its power connection, he added.

P167M VS P184M

Sangguniang Panlungsod Secretary Vicente Petierre, meanwhile, said the past-due account incurred by the city since the Montelibano administration is about P167 million, while what the city is collecting from Ceneco in franchise taxes is about P184 million.

Petierre said Ceneco has agreed to offset its account with the unpaid bills of the city and the city has agreed to pay Ceneco P33 million.

Ceneco president Arnel Lapore confirmed that, out of the P33 million loan subject of amicable settlement, the city has paid Ceneco about P23 million already.

He also said it is wrong for Caña to say that the city’s account is P220 million. He is just groping for issues. Why did he not raise that before? he asked.

Caña also said the Mayor only mentioned the loans with the Philippine National Bank, Development Bank of the Philippines, and Philippine Veterans Bank, admitting that the total loan balance of the city, plus interest, is P1.0278 billion payable up to the year 2022.

MISLEADING

Earlier, Leonardia had said it is misleading and an exaggeration to say that the loan of the city is that much. Since they have started paying the loans, the current balance is only about P480 million.

Meanwhile, Caña said Kabankalan was able to build a new city hall comparable to the government centerwithout a loan. He said he did not vote for the government center contract with Hilmarcs because it is anomalous and claimed that the case against it was dismissed under mysterious circumstances.

Leonardia said “You cannot compare Bacolod with Kabankalan as you would compare apples with oranges.”

Meanwhile, Caña said he found amusing, if not insulting, to the intelligence, a recent survey made by propagandists of Grupo Progreso showing a sweep victory of all their candidates, a press release said.

The survey showed congressional candidate Leonardia, mayoralty candidate Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson and vice mayoralty candidate Greg Gasataya, a former councilor, leading the survey.

Caña claimed that an internal survey conducted by Leonardia’s group among classes A and B, or intelligent voters of the city, showed him having a commanding lead over Leonardia and re-electionist Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez Jr.

Leonardia said Caña is entitled to believe what he wants to believe. The survey does not bother him because, ever since, he does not react to them.

“My attitude is, I just do what I am supposed to do,” he added.*CGS

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Silaynon thanks
Gordon for help

A Negrense based in Silay City yesterday thanked former Sen. Richard Gordon and the Red Cross for the prompt action in assisting a member of their family, who is battling cancer.

The family spokesman, who requested anonymity, recounted that Gordon of the United Nationalist Alliance, was only an acquaintance last month when he spoke at the Confederation of Sugar Producers Association meeting in Manila.

Before leaving, Gordon, now chair of the Red Cross, gave his RC card, telling everyone “just in case you need blood”, he added.

The family was in a serious dilemma. “Our patient’s blood type was B positive. Most of her siblings are not qualified donors. And we were also aware that this type, the apheresis platelet, is not easy to source as it is not the ordinary blood, so we really needed to get help,” he said.

“That meeting at CONFED was providential. I texted a close friend of Sen. Gordon if he could help. In less than five minutes, the senator texted our friend back asking for details, adding that a Red Cross representative would keep in touch,” he added.

True enough, he said, the representative called to facilitate their request for one unit of apheresis platelet that they picked up at the RC office at the port area and transported it to the Makati Medical Center.

The donated blood apheresis was set for infusion on the Silaynon patient at the Makati Medical Center Saturday, the Negrense said.

CONFED national chairman Rafael Coscolluela said the quick response from Gordon’s office was providential as the family member needed one unit of blood apheresis in anticipation in the drop of her platelet count due to chemotherapy.*CPG

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People & Events
City explains Ceneco dues
Silaynon thanks Gordon for help

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