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Bambi takes leave amid questions on Nueva lease

By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG,
Correspondent

MISAMIS Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano took an 11-day leave of absence starting yesterday, leaving unanswered questions about a lease agreement with a woman whose identity is shrouded in mystery like the circumstances surrounding the contracts awarded to her in 2013 and 2016.

The governor would be on leave until Oct. 28, confirmed capitol spokesman Florito “Carlo” Dugaduga.

Dugaduga said Emano merely stated that his reason for his leave of absence is “foreign travel” but the capitol spokesman could not say exactly where the governor was going. Neither could he say if Emano’s trip is work-related or not.

Emano signed Memorandum 2019-1058, designating Vice Gov. Jeremy JonahmarPelaez as acting governor.

Pelaez, in a text message to this paper, said he would look into the possibility of causing the release of the mid-year bonuses of capitol employees during the time he would serve as acting governor.

Emano’s move to go on leave came at a time when he was being hounded by questions about the lease agreement he has with a woman named Rhea Ritzie P. Nueva.

The contract, that did not pass the scrutiny of the provincial board, allowed Nueva to lease a 1,029-square meter property across the Northern Mindanao Medical Center, construct on it, and then engage in subleasing. The Emano-Nueva deal was first made in September 2013, just two months after the governor started his first official term as Misamis Oriental’s leader.

A Commission on Audit (COA) document suggests that the Emano-Nueva agreement was renewed in 2016, and that Nueva has also been allowed to lease another capitol property near the regional office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for P18 thousand a month, construct stalls on it, and then rent these out to vendors.

In the 2018 audit report of the COA, it was shown that the capitol was paying for the electric and water bills of the stalls that have no meters and that Nueva has not been reimbursing the provincial government on time.

Dugaduga emphasized that the capitol has been receiving reimbursements for the power and water consumption of Nueva’s sublessees. He said the reason for the setup is because Nueva could not comply with the requirements of the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co. (Cepalco) and Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) for the installation of separate meters given that she is not the owner of the lots.

“Tinuod nga ang capitol gabayad. Maglisod si Nueva tungod sa mga requirements. Like title sayuta, dili siya maka-provide. Pero every now and then, ga-reimburse siya. Tinuod nothing is wrong about it kay wala na gi-libre,” Dugaduga said.

The COA, in its audit report, called out the capitol about delays in Nueva’s payments and recommended that she be made to pay rent based on the new rates provided for in the province’s latest revenue code.

Given the absence of meters, exactly how the capitol determines how much Nueva owes it in terms of power and water consumption costs remains unclear at presstime. (with reports from NitzArancon)

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