OPPOSING THE RATIFICATION OF MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT OF THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF SORSOGON AND LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES

By VLADIMIR RAMON B. FRIVALDO

October 19, 2011

THE HONORABLE MEMBERS
OF THE SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN
Sorsogon City

Attention: HON. ANTONIO H. ESCUDERO, JR., MNSA
Vice Governor/Presiding Officer

Subject: OPPOSING THE RATIFICATION OF MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT OF THE
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF SORSOGON AND LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES

Dear Vice Governor Escudero,

Please register my opposition in the strongest terms against the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Sorsogon Gov. Raul R. Lee and Land Bank of the Philippines (Legazpi Branch) relative to the P350.0 M Loan which was signed today October 19, 2011, witnessed by majority members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.  This MOA is scheduled to be ratified, confirmed and approved in a resolution form by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Friday, October 21, 2011.

An irregularity can be easily traced on the sequence of events prior to signing of the aforesaid MOA.  On October 5, 2011, Gov. Raul Lee wrote a letter to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members enjoining specially its Presiding Officer, the Chairs and Members of the Committee on Budget and Appropriations and the Committee on Public Works, Infrastructure and Highways to be present in the signing of the MOA relative to the Loan of the Provincial Government of Sorsogon with the Land Bank of the Philippines.  That signing will be held on October 19, 2011, 9:00 am at the LBP Legazpi City Office.  Now, why did Gov. Raul Lee dated his letter to Sangguniang Panlalawigan on October 5, 2011?  Obviously, the approval of this controversial loan was pre-arranged by Gov. Raul Lee with the officials of the LBP Legazpi City Office as cohorts.

Please note that the letter of Mr. Hil Benedict G. Manzanadez, Dept. Manager and Head LBP Legazpi City Office is dated October 17, 2011 when he notified Gov. Raul R. Lee about the LBP approval of the P350.00 M loan.  This letter was received by the Office of the Governor only yesterday, October 18, 2011.

My opposition against the ratification, confirmation and approval of this gargantuan LBP Loan, among others, are as follows:

1. The people of Sorsogon will remember October 19, 2011 as a black day our poor province will be sunk deeper to the oblivion by the gargantuan P350.0 million loan by Gov. Raul R. Lee.  Many believe that our province will never move forward in the proper direction, ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY to the Filipino people is not upheld by most of our provincial officials.  Without this basic tenet of good governance, the culture of impunity and shameless corruption will continue to pervade throughout our provincial government, leading to more poverty for our poor people.

2. Up to now, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan including the undersigned has not yet received any copy of the auditing and accounting report on the previous P260.0 M LBP Loan obtained by former Gov. Sally A. Lee.  We, the present SP Members and the public as well, have the right to know the status or what the hell happened to the previous Administration’s loan, to determine whether or not said loan was really needed and was properly utilized or spent for the very purpose for which it was applied for.

3. The pending election protest against Gov. Lee docketed as Comelec Case No. SPA 09-187 (DC) entitled, Jose G. Solis versus Raul R. Lee filed last December 19, 2009 around 11:45 AM which is a Petition for Disqualification and Cancellation of Certificate of Candidacy.  Case status – ACTIVE.

4. A civil case filed against Gov. Raul Lee led by Matnog Parish Priest Fr. Alexander Jerus, the Alyansa Laban sa Mina sa Matnog (ALMMA), Bayan Sorsogon and private individuals residing in the Municipality of Matnog opposed the iron ore mining operation in Barangay Bolacawe, in Matnog town for total violation of R.A. 7076 otherwise known as the People’s Small Scale Mining Act, R.A. 7942, the Philippine Mining Act, R.A. 7160, Local Government Code.  Now pending before the Regional Trial Court in Sorsogon City.

5. A Graft and Corrupt Practices case against Gov. Raul Lee is now pending before the Sandiganbayan involving the alleged anomalous implementation eight years ago of the province’s Distance Learning Center Program (DLCP) involving P22 million pesos in funds sourced thru LBP and PNB loans.

6. And the most popular of all is the graft case of Gov. Raul Lee’s alleged direct involvement in the controversial P728.00 M fertilizer fund scam. Both graft charges have been elevated to the Sandiganbayan by the Ombudsman.

7. The LBP Notice of Loan Approval states that it is a violation under its General Terms and Conditions, Item No. 1 which provides that the LBP reserves the right to withhold loan releases should there be a case filed against the LGU or its officials involving the project to be financed.  But Governor Lee is the top Sorsogon official who signed this MOA and who will also administer and handle all fund releases of all projects under this P350.0 M loan.  We all know that Mr. Lee is already saddled by several criminal, anti-graft and corrupt practices cases pending before the Sandiganbayan and other courts.  What kind of evaluation was conducted by LBP and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan? Where is logic here?  Hindi ba ito ang nauuso sa buong mundo na corporate greed.  O ang tinatawag na bureaucratic capitalism?

Instead of condemning and sanctioning the questionable actions of the provincial governor, will it not appear that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Land Bank of the Philippines (Legazpi Office) have conveniently colluded with each other in tolerating the wrongdoings of Gov. Raul Lee by granting this mind boggling P350.0 million loan which shall be paid by the people’s money?  This P350.0 M loan is the biggest loan in the history of Sorsogon. The justification and the necessity of this loan is practically nil.  If no one from my distinguished colleagues in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan do not see anything wrong about this huge P350.0 M LBP loan and other previous loans, something must be very wrong somewhere.  Shall LBP and SP allow themselves to be like the three monkeys? SEE NO EVIL, TALK NO EVIL AND HEAR NO EVIL.

In sum, ratifying this Memorandum of Agreement by a majority vote of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members, such measure will only further inflame the peoples distrust to the Sorsogon provincial officials.  Sangguniang Panlalawigan will appear endorsing the people’s hard-earned money to a governor beseted by several anti-graft and corrupt practices cases and whose integrity is already in serious doubt.

My dear colleagues, let us all unite and protect the people’s money.  Let us denounce the Land Bank of the Philippines (Legazpi Office) and identify those people responsible for the approval of the loan passage for NOT exercising due diligence, prudence and sound judgment in evaluating the Sorsogon loan application for purposes of transparency and accountability at all times.  LBP corporate decision is also NOT in consonance with President Aquino’s “MATUWID NA LANDAS.”

God bless us.  Thank you.

Very truly yours,

VLADIMIR RAMON B. FRIVALDO

Cc:
Ms. Gilda Pico, LBP President
Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Chair Senate Committee on Local Government
Cong. George P. Arnaiz, Chair, Congressional Committee on Local Government
Cong. Deogracias B. Ramos, Jr., Member, Congressional Committee on Local Government
All Sorsogon Mayors and Barangay Chairmen

——————-Bulan Observer————————–

3 Comments

Filed under Bulan and The rest Of Bicol Region, Friends and Opinions, Graft and Corruption, SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN, Sorsogon City, Views and Concern, VLADIMIR RAMON B. FRIVALDO

3 responses to “OPPOSING THE RATIFICATION OF MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT OF THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF SORSOGON AND LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES

  1. Concerned citizens and government officials of Sorsogon city and of all the Sorsogon towns should give support to Mr. Vladimer Frivaldo’s oppositon to this MOA entered between Lee et al and the Land Bank of the Philippines.
    The seven solid arguments listed by Mr. Frivaldo of his opposition in the strongest terms and the percieved “irregularity in the sequence of events prior to signing of the aforesaid MOA”, are enough to convince any sane citizen of Sorsogon to conclude that Mr. Lee is a public official who cannot be held “beyond suspicion of evil design and malicious agenda”. In short, he has not the moral ascendancy as to expect or believe for himself that the people of Sorsogon trust him. Without this Public Trust, he should step down from his office as Sorsogon governor and give way to someone who enjoys this Public trust and is being perceived as in line with the President’s Tuwid Na Daan leadership, which is a leadership based on Public Trust, Transparency and Accountability.

    Moral degradation among Public Servants no longer conform with the new national leadership and it is even more lamentable when the leader considered as already morally degraded still appear unconcerned and continues with the pretention of serving the public, of acquiring bank loans to repair the damages of the past typhoons that devastated Sorsogon, etc. Why doesn’t Mr. Lee acquire a private loan to pay for the financial injury to the public which was caused by his wife Sally Lee?

    Mr. Frivaldo complains: …..” 2. Up to now, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan including the undersigned has not yet received any copy of the auditing and accounting report on the previous P260.0 M LBP Loan obtained by former Gov. Sally A. Lee. We, the present SP Members and the public as well, have the right to know the status or what the hell happened to the previous Administration’s loan, to determine whether or not said loan was really needed and was properly utilized or spent for the very purpose for which it was applied for.” /

    Coming from the corrupt Arroyo Tradition, Mr. and Mrs. Lee may not know Article III (Bill Of Rights), Sec. 7- and of the Pubic official’s “duty to disclose” as provided for in the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, but their lawyers surely know these.
    People of Sorsogon, people of Bulan and other towns, please rally behind Mr. Vladimer Frivaldo’s cause and advocacy for proper governance in Sorsogon.

    jun asuncion /

    –articles on the right to Information on matters of Public concern:

    The right to information is recognized as a distinct Constitutional guarantee. Article III (Bill of Rights), Sec. 7 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines,[75] which remains in force, states:

    The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

    Top courts of at least nine of these countries have ruled that the constitutional right is enforceable in court even without enactment of an implementing law, including Chile, Costa Rica, India, Paraguay, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Uganda and Uruguay. Of these countries, Chile, India, South Africa, South Korea, Uganda, and Uruguay have adopted ATI laws. In three countries – Costa Rica, Paraguay, and the Philippines – which have yet to adopt ATI laws, the actionable constitutional right is all the more important.

    The Supreme Court declared the right to be enforceable in 1987, in a case involving access to information regarding the civil service eligibility of certain individuals:

    These constitutional provisions [re the right to information] are self-executing. They supply the rules by means of which the right to information may be enjoyed … by guaranteeing the right and mandating the duty to afford access to sources of information. Hence, the fundamental right therein recognized may be asserted by the people upon the ratification of the constitution without need for any ancillary act of the Legislature . . . . What may be provided for by the Legislature are reasonable conditions and limitations upon the access to be afforded which must, of necessity, be consistent with the declared State policy of full public disclosure of all transactions involving public interest…[76]

    The Court continued by noting the importance of the right to information for democratic decision-making:

    The incorporation in the Constitution of a guarantee of access to information of public concern is a recognition of the essentiality of the free flow of ideas and information in a democracy…. In the same way that free discussion enables members of society to cope with the exigencies of their time…, access to information of general interest aids the people in democratic decision-making … by giving them a better perspective of the vital issues confronting the nation.[77]

    The 1987 Constitution also contains a provision in Article II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies), Section 28, which reads:

    Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.

    For many years, this latter provision was regarded merely as providing emphasis to the guarantee under the Bill of Rights. However, in the recent case of Chavez vs. NHA[77] , the Supreme Court for the first time gave this Section 28 an independent construction. The Court distinguished between “the duty to permit access to information,” which is required by Section 7 of the Bill of Rights, and “the duty to disclose information,” which is what Section 28 mandates. The Court stated:

    Sec. 28, Art. II compels the State and its agencies to fully disclose “all of its transactions involving public interest.” Thus, the government agencies, without need of demand from anyone, must bring into public view all the steps and negotiations leading to the consummation of the transaction and the contents of the perfected contract. Such information must pertain to “definite propositions of the government,” meaning official recommendations or final positions reached on the different matters subject of negotiation. ….

    The other aspect of the people’s right to know apart from the duty to disclose is the duty to allow access to information on matters of public concern under Sec. 7, Art. III of the Constitution. The gateway to information opens to the public the following: (1) official records; (2) documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions; and (3) government research data used as a basis for policy development.
    Thus, the duty to disclose information should be differentiated from the duty to permit access to information. There is no need to demand from the government agency disclosure of information as this is mandatory under the Constitution; failing that, legal remedies are available. On the other hand, the interested party must first request or even demand that he be allowed access to documents and papers in the particular agency. A request or demand is required; otherwise, the government office or agency will not know of the desire of the interested party to gain access to such papers and what papers are needed. The duty to disclose covers only transactions involving public interest, while the duty to allow access has a broader scope of information which embraces not only transactions involving public interest, but any matter contained in official communications and public documents of the government agency.[79]

    However, while the guarantee in the Bill of Rights is self-executing, the Court stated that Section 28 requires implementing legislation. Advocates in the Philippines for the passage of a Freedom of Information Act have strengthened provisions on “the duty to disclose” to conform to this latest Supreme Court ruling.

    In addition to the foregoing provisions spelling out general rights and duties, there are also specific classes of information that the Constitution requires to be made public. These include information on foreign loans obtained or guaranteed by the government. Article XII (National Economy and Patrimony), Sec. 21 of the 1987 Constitution states: “Foreign loans may only be incurred in accordance with law and the regulations of the monetary authority. Information on foreign loans obtained or guaranteed by the government shall be made available to the public.”

    The constitutional guarantee is applied to all branches of government (legislative, judicial, and executive) including all their instrumentalities.[80] For constitutional guarantees regarding the public’s right of access to declarations by public officers or employees of their assets and liabilities see section on Asset Declarations.

  2. Anonymous

    stop these corruption right now! may my voice together with the voices of the OLPSeminarians be heard!

  3. To Mr. Frivaldo,

    You should organize a big group of citizens (the tax payers) and “Occupy” the Sorsogon Capitol and the Land Bank of the Philippines, Sorsogon. The taxpayers have the right to whom they should entrust their money and they have the right to voice out their protest on the streets of Sorsogon against this perceived Corporate Greed that befall the said bank.

    For the the Zeitgeist or spirit of time necessitates action and active participation of citizens,- hence, this Occupy Movement going on around the globe-, to achieve their goals. It’s no longer enough to just keep on reminding erring and corrupt governor and mayors in Sorsogon about the laws and their duties and responsibilities for they are already immune against that and because they bought their votes to get elected using the taxpayers’ money in order to plunder the public coffers, double piracy á la Miguel Arroyo.

    jun asuncion

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