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By Francis Allan L. Angelo


THE marathon hearing on the administrative complaint filed by provincial administrator Manuel “Boy” Mejorada against Iloilo vice governor Rolex T. Suplico is open to the media.


Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) legal officer Ferdinand Panes said they will allow the media to cover the hearing November 11-14 at the DILG regional office.


Panes said an investigator from the DILG national office will conduct the probe while the regional office will serve as venue and facilitator.


Mejorada rapped Suplico for alleged oppression and harassment when the latter instigated the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to delete the allocation for the provincial administrator’s office in the 2008 annual budget. 


G. J. Emeterio S. Moreno, Jr., director III of the DILG legal office, informed the parties about the formal investigation which will put to test the disciplining power of the President over local officials under Administrative Order No. 23, series of 1992.


Moreno asked the parties to be present during the hearings to present their witnesses and evidences, stressing that no postponement will be allowed.


As complainant, Mejorada expressed confidence that the case will prosper despite the long wait. The case was filed last February 7 this year.


“It is clear that there is merit in the case,” Mejorada said. “Otherwise, the DILG would have dismissed the case outright.”


Mejorada described as “empty bravura” the reaction of Suplico in describing the case as “baseless”.


“Even the most hardened of criminals would usually dismiss the cases against them as ‘baseless’,” he said.


In his complaint, Mejorada charged Suplico with oppression, misconduct in office and abuse of authority in pushing for the deletion of the budgetary appropriation for his position as provincial administrator in Appropriation Ordinance No. 2008-01-a.


Mejorada said this action made by Suplico was an apparent act of political vendetta against the most trusted lieutenant of Governor Niel D. Tupas, Sr.


“These are acts of oppression, misconduct and abuse of authority,” Mejorada said.


The “glaring hostility” displayed by Suplico against him was evident when the vice governor gave media interviews stating that he would make the provincial administrator go through a “needle’s hole” when his appointment goes before the Sanggunian, Mejorada said.


He also cited the privilege speech delivered by Suplico on September 4, 2007 in which the latter described him as an “impostor” and a “swindler” for continuing to occupy the position as provincial administrator.


In that speech, Suplico had vowed to push for the deletion of Mejorada’s salary appropriation in the 2008 annual budget. Suplico made good on his promise when he pushed for the enactment of Appropriation Ordinance No. 2008-01-a, he pointed out.


Mejorada said he will submit affidavits executed by no less than Suplico himself in which he admitted pushing for the removal of the budget appropriation for the salary of provincial administrator.


The President can suspend Suplico for six months if the complaint is warranted by the facts and evidence, according to legal experts.

New City Hall remains at Plaza Libertad site


By Jeehan V. Fernandez and Francis Allan L. Angelo


MEGAWORLD Corp. has withdrew its offer to sell more than 4,000 square meters of the old airport property in Mandurriao, Iloilo City on which to construct the New City Hall.


In a letter to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas dated October 24, Antonio T. Tan, senior vice-president for operations of Megaworld, said they are withdrawing their proposal because of opposition from various sectors.


“…Given the adverse reaction unduly generated, we regret to inform you that we are withdrawing the proposal. We wish the City Government well in its endeavors and we hope to be of future assistance to the City Government of Iloilo,” Tan said.


Megaworld withdrew the offer two days after the Sangguniang Panlungsod junked its proposal to sell 4,596 sq m of the 54-hectare old airport lot at P3,500 per sq m or a total of P16 million.


In a letter dated October 13, Megaworld vice president Rodolfo Quintana initially offered the portion of the old airport lot for P10 million or P2,200 per sq m.


Treñas and the City Council agreed on Monday to accept Megaworld’s first offer only to receive another communication from Tan increasing the price of the lot to P3,500 sq m.


Last Wednesday, the City Council approved the resolution of Councilor Eldrid Antiquiera junking the second Megaworld offer.


The Philippine Retailers Association-Iloilo Chapter and small sidewalk vendors also opposed plans to transfer the location of City Hall from the Plaza Libertad area to Mandurriao as it will affect their respective businesses.


Several councilors raised concerns on the sudden price increase of Megaworld offer but Tan said the second offer was “subject to negotiation.”


Tan said their proposal was part of Megaworld’s “continuing corporate commitment and responsibility to grow and partner with the local community where its developments are located.”


“It was given with the best intentions to assist the City Government of Iloilo in its program of relocating the now demolished Old City Hall building to a bigger site to accommodate the growing operations of the City Government. It is an unsolicited proposal which may be accepted, rejected or be the subject of negotiation during the offer period,” Tan said.


Tan said “its prime location, development potential, proximity to business locators and easy access are just a few of the advantages which the City Government may derive from its use and development of the site.”


Megaworld will establish the “Iloilo Business Park” hosting hotel facilities, office and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centers, retail and commercial centers, among others.




Megaworld’s withdrawal has left the City government with no choice but to construct the New City Hall on the old site across Plaza Libertad which has a total area of 2,100 sq m.


Wala naman kita choice (We have no more choice),” Treñas said in a text message to The Daily Guardian in reaction to Megaworld’s latest decision.


Before the offer was withdrawn, Treñas was awaiting the City Council’s decision based on the report of the appraisal committee composed of City Assessor, City Planning and Development Office and City Treasurer. The committee was tasked to determine the exact appraised value of the Megaworld lot in Mandurriao.


Treñas also created an ad hoc committee chaired by Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to determine the viability of buying the Megaworld property.


Mabilog had recommended to sell the old City Hall site at P24million or P11,000 per square meter and use the proceeds to buy the old airport lot.



October 2008

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