NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED BY THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Gov. Art Yap last Friday labelled the Bohol Chronicle and its sister station DYRD as members of the “opposition” in connection with the query made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding two issues of public interest.
In his weekly (virtual) press conference, the first term governor said “as far as I am concerned, (Weng), now, naklaro na nako karon” (it’s clear now)
He continued to say “now I understand. Klaro na nga nibali na ang DYRD ug Bohol Chronicle as member of the media nahimo na sila nga miembro sa opposition, sa mga kritiko sa administrasyon” (it’s clear that DYRD and the Bohol Chronicle has shifted as member of the media, now, as member of the opposition, of those who criticize the administration.”
The statement of the governor came following a published report in this paper last Sunday that DOJ dragged the name of Bohol Chronicle Associate Editor Peter Dejaresco as the complainant of the two issues confronting the Yap administration.
PUBLIC ISSUES ARE POLITICALIZED
The Chronicle media group reacted to the statement of the governor saying that the Chronicle and DYRD have shifted to be members of the opposition.
“This is the first time that a top Bohol government official labels a media group as a member of the opposition just because it brings to the public’s attention legitimate issues confronting governance that is of public interest,” the Chronicle editor said.
The first-termer governor is perhaps not used to getting his activities watched by media since he was distant from the city media circles when he served for nine years as congressman of Bohol’s third district,” Dejaresco concluded.
DOJ COMPLAINT ISSUE
In an email received from DOJ Assistant Secretary Margaret V. Castillo-Padilla last August 27, 2021, the DOJ asked for “pieces of evidence to substantiate allegations revolving the operation of a certain Ivan who is in connivance with the Provincial Treasurer’s Office and other government officials in the unlawful collection of P50 per cubic meter in quarry operations in the province,”
The other issue asked by the DOJ official in the same email was the alleged bagging of P1.6 Billion worth of projects by Muaña Development and Construction through the intercession of a certain Erwin Sy, during the years 2015-2018.
Upon receipt of the email, the Chronicle (on the same day – August 27) immediately requested DOJ Asec. Padilla to send a copy of the said complaint showing that Dejaresco filed the complaint at the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), having made no such complaint.
Until 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon, the Chronicle awaited the reply of DOJ Asec. Padilla which was emailed through the same email address where the DOJ letter came through.
The request for a copy of the signed complaint from the DOJ was requested as the Chronicle denied having filed such a complaint.”
In an earlier statement issued by the BC associate editor, he said “it is farthest from the truth that we (in the media) will file complaints against corruption in governance,” Dejaresco said while stating that “reporting these alleged anomalies is the only job we do in the media.”
In his letter to DOJ Asec. Padilla, he said “May I put it on record that I did not send any complaint as an individual or on behalf of the media group I am working with .”
The Chronicle also informed DOJ Asec. Padilla that the paper and the radio station carried reports quoting Engr. Nilo Sarigumba exposed the alleged operation of a certain “Ivan” in connivance with the Provincial Treasurer’s Office.
Sarigumba who is the president of a Bohol contractors’ group likewise alleged that based on the records of the 3rd District Engineering Office, Muaña bagged PhP1.65 billion worth of projects during the years 2015-1018 while Yap was still a congressman. Sy allegedly shifted his operations to the provincial government when Yap sat as governor.
Sy remains a force to reckon with in determining who gets into the bidding and bags the contract with the Bids and Awards Committee apparently suppliant to his wishes, according to Sarigumba in one of the articles published by the Chronicle.