The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) committee hearing on the alleged bribery of a government official who protected a REPA administrator has been postponed pending the arrangement of a security detail for a witness who is set to appear before provincial lawmakers.
Provincial Board Member Victor Balite, who first raised the bribery issue before the lawmaking body earlier this month, requested SP Committee on Peace and Order chairman BM Ricky Masamayor to postpone the hearing which was initially scheduled on November 25.
Balite also addressed the request for a security detail to Masamayor.
“I would like to take this opportunity to humbly request from your good office to give us security detail of our choice for the safety and security of our witness,” said Balite in a letter addressed to Masamayor.
“It is part of the process to secure our witness and for the witness to tell us the truth without fear for his life, hence, I am hoping that you will give this matter most of your preference,” he added.
The REPA scam which was masterminded by multiple administrators has reportedly duped over a thousand Boholanos of an estimated P1 billion.
However, Masamayor during the SP’s regular session on Monday said he has no authority to provide a security detail to the witness.
He instead advised Balite to coordinate directly with law enforcement agencies including the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation.
“I am asking him [Balite] to write letters to those agencies and I will personally follow up and support this request,” he said.
Masamayor hoped that Balite would be able to arrange the security for his witness within the week so the peace and order committee would be able to push through with the hearing next week.
Earier this month, Balite said that he received information indicating that a government official was bribed to protect the REPA operations of one Liezel Libranza.
While Balite did not name the alleged crooked government official, Masamayor immediately responded believing that he may have been the official being alluded to by Balite, who described the official as someone close to law enforcement agencies and is from the town of Loon.
Masamyor is from Loon and is known to be working closely with the Philippine National Police as chairman of the PB’s peace and order committee.
Balite however did not deny or confirm if he indeed was referring to Masamayor.
Masamayor, on the other hand, said that if Balite was indeed referring to him, he will inhibit himself from participating in the proceedings which will be overseen by his committee. (R. Tutas)