Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The "missing" Valencia properties

The actual existence of more than P20-million worth of movable property in Valencia is in question, a report by the Commission on Audit disclosed.
The reasons are: First, the municipality of Valencia under Mayor Rodolfo Gonzales, Jr., failed to submit an inventory report of its movable property; second, the municipality of Valencia did not complete the physical count of its movable property.
Worse, the COA has been told that one of reasons why these properties could not be inventoried is because some of them “have been assigned to other duties and functions.”
It is not certain what "them" the COA is referring to.
As a result, the COA said there is no basis to say that these P20-million worth of movable properties actually exist.
This has also elicited reactions from legal observers. If the COA is referring to the properties as having been asisgned to other duties and functions then it can be the subject of a criminal case.
This is because the assigning public property to other public use could constitute technical malversation.
Under Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, a public official can be liable for technical malversation if he is found to have applied public property under his administration to any public use other than that for which the properties were appropriated by law.
Because the municipality of Valencia did not submit an inventory report, nor did it complete its inventory, the validity of the town’s account balances is also under question.
The non-submission of an inventory report, and the non-completion of the physical count of movable properties runs counter to a COA circular that mandates the regular conduct of inventory.
Section 156 of COA Circular No. 92-386, which contains the rules and regulations on supply and property management, requires an annual physical inventory of all supplies and property of every local government unit as of December 31 of each year.
Valencia’s financial statements reflect P20,743,262.70 listed as office equipment, furniture, fixtures, machineries, transportation, and other property and plant equipment.
But while listed in the financial statements, this amount cannot be validated, the COA said.
Because the municipality of Valencia failed to complete the physical count, nor submit an inventory report of its properties, plus the lack of documents, the existence of these assets and the validity of the account balance could not be ascertained, the COA said.
Concerned Valencia residents are pushing for a full blown investigation to find out: where are these questioned properties? Why can’t these properties be inventoried? To what “other duties and functions” have these properties been assigned? Who are the public officials responsible?
Again, Valencia Mayor Rodolfo Gonzales, Jr. has been asked to explain this anomaly in his town, since public office is supposed to be a public trust.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bye, Mommy Charing

Tagbilaran City Saturday June 14, 2008 ---- This morning my paternal grandmother Rosario Pernia Dejaresco, Mommy Charing we called her, passed away. I am rushing to write but still cannot compose myself emotionally. I decided to just borrow the article of my lone (baptism) "maninoy" Ruben Cal, now the managing editor of the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The consummate newsman that he is, maninoy Ruben immediately produced his piece in time for the Sunday publications of the Bohol Chronicle and Negros Chronicle. Here is his article:

Remember Nang Charing -

MANILA, June 14 – Bohol’s media matriarch is dead.
Mrs. Rosario “Charing” Pernia Dejaresco, died in peace at her hospital bed at 10:36 Saturday morning after receiving the Extreme Unction, the last rites of the Catholic Church. She was 85.
I have known Nang Charing even before I went to school way back in 1949 when I accompanied my mother, Mrs. Milagros B. Cal’s regular visit to the Dejaresco family in their rented apartment near the residence of former President Carlos P. Garcia in Tagbilaran City.
At that time, Nang Charing’s husband, the late Atty. Zoilo Dejaresco Jr. was a practicing lawyer but at the same time a professor at the Holy Name College (now Holy Name University).
But in between, Atty. Dejaresco was a correspondent of the now defunct Manila Chronicle.
His passion in news writing gave him the idea to pioneer Bohol’s first community newspaper – the Bohol Chronicle in May 1954. Since then, the Chronicle has not missed an issue to date even during martial law.
Through thick and thin when the Bohol Chronicle was in its infancy, Jun and Charing Dejaresco held on together. They pulled through every obstacle the fledging newspaper encountered with flying colors.
But it was Nang Charing’s perseverance, constant prayer being a Marian devotee and faith in God that made the big difference.
When big problems occurred, Nang Charing was always there on the side of her beloved husband, giving advice to take things easy and leave the matter to the Almighty.
One summer vacation when I was nine years old years old, I found myself as a newsboy, selling Bohol Chronicle, Manila Chronicle and Alimyon, a Visayan vernacular magazine which the Dejaresco family was the exclusive distributor in the province of Bohol at that time.
As a dotting and loving wife, Nang Charing was the treasurer of the Bohol Chronicle, dutifully keeping an accounting of all the sales of the struggling community newspaper.
Every Christmas Jun Dejaresco and Nang Charing would host a Christmas party for the newsboys.
When I graduated from high school, I was employed in the Bohol Chronicle initially as proofreader-messenger in 1963 through the recommendation of my mother.
I was unaware at that time that it was the start of my journalism career.
Jun Dejaresco, the Chronicle’s editor-publisher, and Justino “Ning” Romea, a prolific writer, not only gave me the encouragement to be a journalist, but taught me how to write straight and feature articles.
However, Nang Charing, an English teacher in her own right, was there not as an editor but my unsolicited adviser, giving some pointers of the story I have written.
It was Nang Charing’s friendly coaching that I had to be careful in my grammar and choice of words when I submitted my stories for the Chronicle’s Sunday issue, especially when her husband was in Manila or abroad for a conference or official business.
It was Nang Charing’s dominant presence in the newsroom, her ever smiling face that we, the employees would double our efforts – working overtime every Saturday for the Chronicle’s Sunday issue.
The last time I talked to Nang Charing was in 2004 when the Chronicle observed its golden anniversary.
She was so happy to meet me after years of not having seen each other.
I did not know that it was the last time I would meet her in person.
For me, I would always remember Nang Charing’s big heart, her kindness, always helpful, and her wide smile.
Though she may not be larger than life, but Nang Charing was at the forefront when she and her husband pioneered the press and radio network in Bohol and watch the Chronicle’s growth into a media empire and watchdog of press freedom.
Through the years, Nang Charing was ever conscious of the shortness of life. That way she had gained wisdom of heart for her fellow being.
Goodbye, Nang Charing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Last Train to London

I am here at the Mactan airport again coming from a hearing.
Today I presented one of the complainants Guadalupe as my witness.
It was a very lively presentation, mainly because of the adverse counsel who is the counterpart of a circus acrobat.
He is already of age, full of experience and--can you beat it---a former judge.
But I like his style of cross examination of trying to intimidate witnesses, by appearing as if he is about to devour a prey.
This, even if he is equipped with enormously hallow questions.
The way to counter this style is to distract by objecting to his cross questions.
One of the distracting objections I raised was his habit of finger-pointing the witness.
I told the adverse counsel that he would not like it if somebody were to point a finger at him.
He exploded. "Don't lecture to me!" he roared at me.
Mission accomplished.
The proceedings never become boring.
Anyway, while I was on the way to the airport, I boraded an old taxi, and I was swept by the equally antiquated music, that I haven't heard in a generation.
It was the Electric Light Orchestra's "Last Train To London."
The chorus is infectious: "I really want our love to last forever.
I really wanna be with you."
Immediately I squeezed into a time warp and remembered the days when this song was a hit in the early 1980's.
I can just imagine dusting the blue-labled 45 rpm record.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Taxi service in Dumaguete

There are taxi services beginning to operate in Dumaguete City.
The last time I flew in to Dumaguete, I immediately saw a line of white taxi cabs waiting for passengers at the airport.
I inquired from Mario, a driver of a rent-a-van who was also waiting for customers at the airport about the new fleet of taxi cabs.
He said it is being operated by a Korean, and indeed, the cars were Korean brand.
It is a good thing to note that taxi's have begun to ply the streets of Dumaguete again.
Apparently there is a growing clientle taxi customers, particularly from teh tourist sector.
I recall the first time that taxi's operated in Dumaguete was in the 1970's when I was a small kid.
I think it was the late Fr. Eleuterio Tropa who began operating taxi cabs in the city, using small cars called "minicas".
The service was shortlived, however, as there was not enough market to sustain the viability of the taxis then.