Governor Aris Aumentado has created an office that will probe alleged anomalous transactions that transpired during the previous administration under former governor Art Yap in a bid to deliver on his campaign promise of accountability and clean governance.
Immediately after his inauguration on Thursday, Aumentado signed Executive Order (EO) No. 2 establishing the Office of Governance Accountability and Review (OGAR), which will be under the Office of the Governor.
“Let us leave the bitterness of the election campaign behind us but it does not mean that accounting of wrongful past provincial government acts will be swept under the rug of fatal indifference and false reconciliation,” Aumentado said in his inaugural address.
The OGAR will be headed by former Cabinet Secretary and presidential adviser Leoncio Evasco, Jr.
Meanwhile, consultations are still ongoing to identify lawyers and other personnel who will comprise the team.
According to Aumentado, the initiative is part of his administration’s efforts to seek justice and is not driven by politics nor retribution.
“We are not out on a witch hunting, we are on a cleanup drive,” Aumentado said.
“Corrupt practices that laid to waste our meager resources and deprived hungry mouths of food or ailing bodies of relief are not mine to forgive or forget. It is the entire Boholano people that is wronged. It is they who cry for redress. Let justice be done though the heavens fall,” he added.
As stipulated in EO 2, the OGAR will identify and probe transactions or acts that may have violated Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019) and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees (Republic Act 6713).
With operational support from the Provincial Legal Office, the OGAR will be authorized to access all records of the provincial government.
OGAR is formed amid allegations of corruption against the previous administration under Yap, who is facing two complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman for violations against RA 3019.
The two complaints were filed against him for alleged anomalous transactions that transpired while he was governor.
Aumentado who ran for governor on an anti-corruption platform also assured the public of a clean and transparent governance.
“There will be no more bypassing of the normal bidding procedures. There will be no more transactions done or coursed through people who have no official functions in the Capitol. There will be no more Ivans,” said Aumenatado.
The statement was an apparent reference to a man identified only as “Ivan” who allegedly collected huge kickbacks from quarry operators during the Yap administration.
He allegedly demanded P50 per cubic meter of limestone from Bohol quarry operators in exchange for the approval of their quarry applications.
Aumentado lamented that lack of transparency and the alleged extortion activities deprived Bohol businessmen of opportunities to work with the Capitol.
“Subo paminawon na ang mga Bol-anong magpatigayon ang dili na hinuon makasulod og negosyo sa Kapitolyo tungod sa mga gipanghimuntang na mga babag sama sa gibalita na pag pangayo og dagko na kickback,” said Aumentado.
“It is time to open the doors of business in the Capitol for Boholanos themselves who pass and possess the basic competencies and also want to do their share in building this province,” he added. (AD)