• TRO sought for P150-M cemetery

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    Bulacan: A temporary restraining order (TRO) is being sought to stop the ongoing construction of the P150-million new municipal cemetery in San Ildefonso town in this province.

    Alleging an anomaly in the project, former vice mayor Rolando Centeno and councilor Crisanto Mananghaya asked the Regional Trial Court to issue a TRO to annul the procurement of the project, saying that the contract is not only rigged but also illegal because it was not included in the town’s 2015 budget.

    The complaints alleged in an eight-page sworn complaint said there was also no valid resolution by the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) that authorized Mayor Gerard Galvez to secure a loan from the Philippine National Bank to finance the project.

    They said that the project did not comply with the posting requirements under Republic Act 9184 (PhilGEPS Law), including its publication in a newspaper of nationwide circulation, which is mandatory for infrastructure projects costing more than P5 million. Hence, there was virtually no bidding, the complainants said.

    Based on documents, a copy of which was obtained by The Manila Times, the project was nowhere to be found in the 2015 budget of the town. Instead, Galvez allegedly used the P150-million loan from the PNB through a questionable SB Resolution No. 2015-073.

    Also included in the complaint was the project contractor, Radthien Builders and owner Benjamin de Guzman of Barangay San Roque in San Rafael, Bulacan, as well as the president of the Philippine National Bank, Reynaldo Maclang.

    The complaints averred that SB Resolution 2015-073 was passed without the mandatory majority vote, adding that the SB presiding officer—Vice Mayor Roberto Miguel—died in December 2015.

    Sec. 4 of the SB Internal Rules of Procedure (IRP) states that “If the Presiding Officer cannot preside over the meeting for whatever reason, the elected Majority Floor Leader shall automatically be the Temporary Presiding Officer who shall act as such but is not entitled to vote even in case of a tie.”

    Based on the records of the voting, Resolution 2015-073 got a 5-3 vote in its favor. “Clearly, there was no majority vote on the resolution because the SB has 10 members (eight councilors, 1 ABC president, and the vice mayor) hence, the required vote to attain majority is six,” they pointed out.

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