‘Plundering’ the Bacolod treasury-11

LET’S CONTINUE clarifying the claims of the case against this P1.7 billion loan. Last week I cited the approval passing through a “sham public hearing” and with incredible speed. The bullet train travel of the processes of this loan does not only include Mayor Evelio Leonardia and the Sanggunian but also the Development Bank of the Philippines, which will be a major beneficiary in this transaction considering the millions it will earn in interests.

The complainants, former Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson, Atty. Jocelle Batapa and businessman Antonio Wong said, “The fact that the P1.7 billion was approved by the DBP just two (2) days after the bogus public hearing on November 26, 2018, is a tell-tale sign that the entire process was rigged from the start and the so-called public hearing was just for show and nothing more.”

Was the approval of the loan “rigged”? In this case, there is more reason to include the DBP in this suit because there could have been collusion between Leonardia and his cabal with the DBP. This is a serious claim that puts not just the official of the DBP named in this suit but also the board of directors that apparently approved the loan application with unprecedented speed. For a government bank working this fast then that speed is really mystifying. If this suspicion of collusion is proven true, then they all could be sued before the Ombudsman.

However, surely the DBP had exercised due diligence as required or expected of a banking institution in this transaction with far-reaching implications for the city and its future. If indeed there was collusion, then this must be ferreted out.

The complainants said that considering the huge amount of the loan (“gargantuan” is the description used) the officials of Bacolod “should have been more transparent and circumspect given the admonition of the Supreme Court that these officials should protect the interest of the people and to prevent taxes from being squandered or wasted under the guise of government projects.”

The problem of the people of Bacolod is that their mayor, Evelio Leonardia and his councilors in Grupo Progreso have not been transparent when it comes to contracts involving millions of pesos. This cabalistic method of governing the city is financially beneficial to them. The people had been lulled into thinking that these men and women are officials of integrity but their actions when it comes to multimillion contracts show they do not heed nor care about the admonition of the High Court.

I noted earlier that the wide margin of votes that Leonardia got in the 2016 elections has emboldened him to act in this indecent manner because he thinks that nobody in Bacolod can beat him in the elections. He had jettisoned his perennial opponent and he thought nobody will dare challenge him.

Now he has a challenger, a complete contrast to him, Atty. Jocelle Batapa whose candidacy is, according to an erstwhile Leonardia supporter, gaining ground precisely because of this contrast -a sort of Leonardia of the dark secretive world against Batapa who works and lives in the light. However, this is not the time for campaigning, so I will deal with this mysterious cabalistic world versus white, open world at the proper time.

Let’s continue with the Third Cause of Action in this suit against the P1.7 billion loan. Here the complainants assaulted the Term Loan Agreement and Continuing Deed of Assignment with Hold-out Agreement. This portion of the case deals with the conditions attached to the loan. Every loan carries a condition, especially for payment. The suit claims that these two agreements are “onerous” and “could financially immobilize the operations of Bacolod City, prejudiced future generations and unfairly tie down the hands of the next local officials.”

This loan is not only for the moment but will adversely affect the future generation who will pay over P2 billion, once interests are included. Bacolod will still be paying by 2034 when these officials are out of office. They will leave a legacy of huge indebtedness. Maybe we should kick them out now.

The terms and conditions of the loan must be clear. But so far nobody knows except Leonardia, his cabal and DBP – the people who will gain monetarily from the loan but not pay for it.

Let’s continue on February 18.

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