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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, July 19, 2016
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TIGHT ROPE
WITH MODESTO P. SA-ONOY

Fools rush in - 2

Tightrope

Will a sane man pay for goods before he had checked they are in good and proper condition and within his specification? Of course it stands to sanity that he would reject what does not comply with his stipulations. Unfortunately some people would throw sanity out of the window for higher purposes greed.

The avaricious would throw sanity and caution just to get what feeds his immediate needs. He takes risks thinking that he would not be found. But as our ancients would say, the stench of fermented shrimp would always leak out.

In the case of the speech laboratory that the former Bacolod City administration purchased we are indeed stumped. Is there sanity here or perhaps something else? The administration of Monico Puentevella with GSO head Jerome Solinap as its visible and physical presence, paid over P39 million for commodities they had not checked and when presented to the beneficiary were rejected for being obsolete. It is like ordering a pizza and getting a siomai in a bamboo stick.

Of course the city officials certified that the speech laboratory equipment and facilities were in good order and they rushed to pay, throwing all restraint with the hope they would not be exposed or, if discovered, the risk worth the dismissal and dishonor.

Would Puentevella,Solinap and the treasurer have paid if the equipment were theirs?Would they have paid with their own money? I doubt it and strange as it seems, they paid. They paid because it is not their speech laboratory and the money belongs to the city. They probably profited from it.

In fact, the money was only entrusted to them and they were paid handsomely to safeguard the money of the city. They are to guard the city treasury. What happened here is something like Ali Baba and his forty thieves given the keys and honor to guard the caliph's treasury.

If they were sane or honest employees of government, they would have been extra careful because the transaction involves millions of pesos and there is a paper trail. But like fools they rushed into the transaction at the last moment of their term, like beating a red traffic light.

They left a paper trail because it was too late to remove them as they did with others prior to the turnover, when they carted away hundreds of documents to remove what could be incriminating evidence of wrongdoing. The check they issued to pay for the equipment was already in the hands of the supplier, but the transaction was intercepted and the new administration did not advise the bank to honor it. It was just a matter of a few hours, otherwise the deed would have been was done to the detriment of P39 million losses to the city.

Why did they take this dangerous move, so clumsy and so stupid? There must be overwhelming reason elsewhere because they clearly took a dangerous gamble and lost. The supplier, Nikka Trading has threatened to sue the city for failure to pay, or more specifically, for not giving instruction to the bank to honor the check that the city issued. It bounced, so to speak.

The suppliers' lawyer is demanding that the city honors the check. Nikka Trading should sue. It issued a certification that it had already delivered the entire laboratory equipment and facilities except that it had not installed them as prescribed in the contract.

In truth, they have no right to demand payment because they have not complied with the specifications and conditions of the contract, even granting the equipment were top of the line, which is not.

The wonder of wonders here, however, is that despite the certification of Nikka Trading that it has not completed installing the equipment as contracted, Puentevella ordered payment and Solinap and City Treasurer Giovani Balalihe issued the check. Is this the proper procedure that Solinap claims, and which Balalihe concurred in? Would these two have fully paid for a car without its engine but an affidavit of the dealer that he would install it later?

Where has sanity gone? To paraphrase Mark Anthony in his oration on the death of Julius Ceasar O judgment thou has been fed to brutish beast! In this case some people must have been well fed. Otherwise, how can we explain the actuations of otherwise sane people?

Meantime, Solinap, Balalihe and others are not preventively suspended or at least gone one leave. They remain working as if nothing happened.*

           

 

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