Board Member Gloria Gementizaâ€™s â€œwithdrawalâ€ of her signature in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) report declaring a lawyer-mediaman â€œpersona non grataâ€ has no effect and, therefore, cannot undo the official legislative act already done, according to her colleagues.
She had scanned, read and signed the report, which contained the persona non grata declaration recommendation, before it was presented to and adopted and approved by the provincial board in session the other Friday, they said.
Records of the SP session on September 10 show no objection from any board member to the approval of the report, which was rendered by the Committee of the Whole, and even to the passage of the resolution declaring lawyer-mediaman Salvador Diputado persona non grata.
Gementiza was herself present in the said session from roll call to adjournment.
Honestly, SP Floor Leader Venzencio Arcamo said, he and the other members of the board had then first thought Gementiza would not sign the report for an obvious reason.
The lady SP member politically belongs to the group of Vice Gov. Dionisio Balite, SP presiding officer, and his son, Board Member Dionisio Victor Balite, who are father-in-law and brother-in-law, respectively of Diputado.
At the session last Friday, September 16, Gementiza withdrew her signature as he ascribed in her privilege speech to have been tricked or deceived into signing the report.
The report was furnished to the board members, including her, during the pre-session conference, according to Arcamo who acted as the chairman of the Committee of the Whole probing Diputadoâ€™s $81 million bank account intrigue.
Diputado imputed the hardly-imaginable huge deposit to a high-ranking provincial official whom the â€œtsismisâ€ peddler could not even identify in one of the SP hearings he had himself attended on official invitation.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI which conducted its own probe found out the allegation to be just â€œrumorâ€ while the SP said, in its separate finding report, it had no factual bases.
Arcamo and Board Member Abeleon Damalerio interpellated Gementiza as they liked objectivity in the discussion.
Gementiza answered â€œNoâ€ to both questions if somebody had ever forced her to sign the report and if there was anybody preventing her from signing.
This prompted the belief that she was â€œpressuredâ€ to withdraw her signature.
According to Arcamo, it was stated loud and clear during the meeting then of the Committee of Whole that the body should recommend to condemn in strongest terms Diputadoâ€™s falsehood destroying innocent officials and the provincial government as an institution, and even private reputations of the living and the dead.
Gementiza withdrew her signature in the report as she further claimed having done it â€œinadvertentlyâ€ which, to one board member, could mean she was signing a document which content or substance she was not aware of.
But her fellow capitol lawmakers noted also that she did not object to the report even if it was entirely ready by Arcamo in the plenary session before being adopted and approved, including the persona non grata recommendation.
Gementiza also did not oppose when the provincial board pass the resolution declaring Diputado persona non grata, which means a person is not appreciated, unacceptable, not welcome and/or undesirable.
Board member Kristine Alexi Tutor, an SP neophyte like Gementiza, said they are all responsible and educated, and should therefore be responsible for their acts, especially that they are elected officials.
A former town councilor, Gementiza sits in the provincial board as the provincial federation president of the Philippine Councilorsâ€™ League (PCL)-Bohol Chapter.
Several board members believed Gementiza must have been berated or reprimanded by his political allies or some elemnts who are SP outsiders and capitol critics for signing the report and pressured to withdraw her signature.
Unexpectedly, Diputado came and observed the session last Friday.
While the provincial board declared him persona non grata, Diputadoâ€™s rights are not curtailed, said Arcamo who is also a lawyer and whose wife is a judge. (Ven rebo Arigo)