A quorum challenge hurled by “principal resource person” Atty. Salvador Diputado almost derailed the scheduled Sanggunniang Panlalawigan (SP) hearing this afternoon, July 20, 2016 on the alleged $81 million deposit reportedly owned by a top provincial official.
Even the author of the resolution calling for an investigation of the mysterious dollar deposit, 3rd district Board Member (BM) Elpidio Jala together with his BM’s Jone Jade Bautista and Kristine Alexi Tutor, 2nd district BM’s Tomas Abapo and Nino Rey Boniel and 1st district BM Ricky Masamayor failed to attend the committee hearing of the whole.
First district BM Abeleon Damalerio acting as the presiding officer in lieu of Vice Governor and SP Presiding Officer Dionisio Balite explained to Diputado that since the purpose this meeting was to ferret out the truth on the dollar deposit, the question of a quorum will be dispensed.
Balite and his son inhibited themselves from the hearing in deference to their relationship with Diputado who his married to the Vice Govenor’s daughter.
Diputado deferred to the position of the board members but registered his objection to the lack of quorum and the inability of the body to refile the resolution seeking for a hearing on the deposit.
The hearing which lasted for almost two hours failed to elicit any useful information regarding the dollar deposit even as Diputado went around the questions of the board members.
Damalerio and 1st district BM Vencenzo Arcamo expressed disbelief that Diputado had the gall to discuss on his radio program and write in his column and unverified piece of information that has put all officials of the provincial government under suspicion.
Diputado stood his ground invoking the right of the media not to reveal their sources but assured the SP that the identity of the dollar account holder will be revealed in due time.
Diputado even intimated that he is awaiting the release of President Duterte’s executive order on the Freedom of Information to speed up his own validation of the circumstances surrounding the controversy.
The SP will now decide if another hearing will be scheduled or await the results of Diputado’s own investigation.
Present during the hearing were Damalerio, Arcamo, 2nd district BM Agapito Avenido, 3rd BM Dionisio Victor Balite, Association of Barangay Captains President Romulo Cepedoza and Provincial Councilor’s League interim president Cecil Rebosura. (Chito M. Visarra)