The lies and deceits that did only warrant the death of the joint venture case get even more savage now in political black propaganda flyers spread across the province for obvious May election gains.
Printed materials of grave misinformation that the case still goes on and is yet to be resolved at the Sandiganbayan were scattered in the vicinities of churches, plazas, markets, schools and other public places these past days.
But this is a useless claim Â that has been effectively refuted by Sandiganbayanâ€™s dismissal itself of the case just last month.
The vile flyers believed to be reproduced by tens of thousands and dropped in different areas also contained â€œmugshotsâ€ of Gov. Edgar Chatto, Rep. Rene Relampagos and Vice Gov. Concepcion Lim.
They were made to appear like criminals and fugitives with pending â€œwarrants of arrestsâ€ and â€œhold departure ordersâ€ when in truth and fact there are none because the Sandiganbayan already terminated and closed the case in their favor.
Like the wrong claims before that had failed to convince Â the special and regular courts, the demolition items charged the Bohol officials with undervaluing the electric and water utilities of the province to pocket from the joint venture deal.
The officials were never charged at Sandiganbayan with earning from any graft or corrupt act and no Ombudsman records have held them liable for any anomaly, scandal or misdeed.
The only accusation, which was baseless, against them was that the then Provincial Electric
System (PES) and Provincial Water System (PWS) assetsÂ were undervalued during the joint venture negotiation and the government thus grossly disadvantaged.
Long before the Sandiganbayan dismissal, the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Court of Appeals (CA) and Ombudsman did find the joint venture project to be not undervalued, anomalous and disadvantageous to the government.
Eversince, all imputations had been rejected by both the regular and special courts as they were pure invented allegations.
The denials of the RTC and CA to the then civil cases involving petitions and appeals to prohibit and stop the joint venture project and junking by the Ombudsman and Sandiganbayan of the administrative and criminal charges proved the accused to be without fault.
Just a sample advantage, the joint venture project has since solved the perennial problems of scant water and unreliable electricity particularly in Tagbilaran City.
After long neglect, the people have finally gotten efficient service and abundant supply of the two basic necessities at even cheaper rates 24 hours and 7 days a week.
Also now, the province earns annually from the joint venture operation without spending unlike before when it had to drain several millions in yearly subsidies just to run the old, negligible Provincial Electric System (PES) and Provincial Water System (PWS).
CONTRARY TO LIES
Contrary to false assertions, the two utilities were not undervalued when the province ventured into the economic enterprise partnership with the private company investor Salcon.
Instead, the Ombudsman had long found out the brain -complainant in the joint venture case and harshest capitol detractor Victor de la Serna and his cohorts to be deliberately misleading the anti-graft body.
The critics apparently maliciously invented figures to come up with an entirely wrong, false and deceptive â€œactual total valueâ€ of the PES and PWS.
The Ombudsman understood and appreciated this fact, though:Â The expert Asian Appraisal Company placed the potential business enterprise values of the PES at P229.1 million and PWS at P604.1 million—already inclusive of the potential franchise values of P141.7 million for PES and P505.8 million for PWS.
These were pure estimates to be possibly realized once the PES and PWS operate as a joint venture in 20 years.
At the time of the joint venture negotiation over 15 years ago, the total appraised current market value of the two utilities was pegged at only P135 million.
Â How Dela Serna Â must have scripted their complaint was told in this Ombudsman observation: Â He added all the estimates, which were all mere potential values, and made their sum of P1.4 billion appear to be the total value of the two utilities instead of only P135 million as appraised on the current market value.
Using one more erroneous Â computation that led to another fatal Â mistake, De la Serna falsely claimed that the government should have received not just P150 million from the joint venture partner because the total â€œactualâ€ value of the two utilities at that time was P782 million.
He got his misleading figure by summing up the potential franchise right values of the PES (P141.7 million) and PWS (P505.8 million) for a total of P647.5 million, plus, again, the P135 million for a â€œgrand deceptionâ€ total of P782 million.
De la Serna insisted to be actual what plainly was imagined.
In 2001, the Ombudsman dismissed the case in a resolution ultimately affirmed and approved in 2008, finding and stating that:Â â€œForemostly, there never was any undervaluation of the assets.â€
What the complainants â€œmistook for a factâ€ was the â€œpotential to have the net present values,â€ which are â€œsupposed to be realized within 20 yearsâ€ yet.
These potential values can be achieved on â€œassumptionâ€ that the joint venture partners will infuse additional funds to pay off the companiesâ€™ debts, spend much to rehabilitate and improve the systems, and acquire additional assets.
The complainants â€œfailed to mentionâ€ that under the â€œpresent state of conditionsâ€— which was when and while the joint venture was yet negotiated, the appraised value of both utilities was even â€œin the negative.â€
They â€œeither erred or deliberately misrepresented in assuming that the potential valuations under the (then) proposed joint business were (already) the absolute and immutable valuations of the two utilities.â€
The â€œimpressive valueâ€ the two utilities could have the â€œpotential to achieveâ€ was a â€œmere projectionâ€ and, therefore, â€œthere could be no undervaluation to speak ofâ€ even, the Ombudsman stressed.
The dismissal was penned by then Graft Investigation Officer II Sarah Jo Vergara, reviewed by Graft Investigation Officer III Virginia Palanca Santiago, recommended for approval by Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Primo Miro and, finally, approved by Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro.
The substance and merits of the case were even already argued and resolved when charges seeking to prohibit and stop the joint venture were much earlier filed before the RTC but denied.
The denial was appealed to the RTC but trashed out and further appealed to the Court of Appeals but still got junked.
The Ombudsman dismissal also firmly asserted, â€œRespondents have satisfactorily disproved the charges hurled against them and there now remains no ground to justify their indictment in court.â€
BUT JUSTICE WINS
In a mysterious twist, the Ombudsman suddenly reversed its dismissal and indicted the respondent officials by filing an Information before the Sandiganbayan in October last year, which was coincidental with the filing of the candidacy for the May 2016 elections.
Finally, in January this year, the Sandiganbayan dismissed and terminated the case, citing the â€œinordinate and unjustified delay in the preliminary investigation of the case in violation of the right of the accused to a speedy disposition of their caseâ€ and justice.
The anti-graft court further assailed as â€œcapricious and vexatiousâ€ the delay of the case, which underlying political motive here is again amplified by the noise and visible by the shade of its massive misinformation work this election period.
â€œThe motions to dismiss are impressed with merits,â€ the Sandiganbayan First Division said in its six-page resolution penned by its chair, Associate Justice Efren dela Cruz, with concurring approval of two other division members, Associate Justices Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos.
In what some fellow lawyers considered one sickening truth that does humiliate a bar topnotcher like De la Serna, the latterâ€™s pleadings were separately ordered by the Sandiganbayan â€œexpunged,â€ scrapped or erased from its official records.
NO FAULT, BUT
POLITICS IS SINNING
The Bohol officials have been found blameless but. It seems that ugly politics and unfair election practices are now in vogue for which explains the bad propaganda in this yet local pre-campaign season.
The dirty flyers spread massively in far Second and Third District areas campaigned â€œnot to trust and voteâ€ the two prized leaders of Bohol, Chatto and Relampagos, as well as Lim who is the first lady vice governor of the province.
To the mind of Liberal Party (LP) provincial campaign manager and Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II, the unappealing lies would only tell of who must be behind and at the front of the demolition job.Â (Ven rebo Arigo)