By NITZ ARANCON
THE 2005 Revenue Code of Misamis Oriental gave no governor the blanket authority to enter into any contract for the lease of any capitol property much more for a build-lease-transfer scheme, the head of the provincial board that approved the province’s revenue generation rules 14 years ago said over the weekend.
“What you can find there (Code) are the rates,” said lawyer Julio Uy who served as Misamis Oriental’s vice governor when the provincial board approved the Code on Feb. 7, 2005.
The current vice governor, Jeremy Jonahmar Pelaez, agreed with Uy.
“Wala g’yuy provision sa Revenue Code of 2005 nga dili na mangayo og authority ang governor sa Sangguniang Panalawigan kon makig-contract,” said Pelaez, one of the provincial board members who approved the Code in 2005.
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Uy’s and Pelaez’s pronouncements came in the wake of the Aug. 29, 2017 verified answer of Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano that was submitted by provincial legal officer Cerilo Neil Pacana to the 38th branch of the Regional Trial Court here to refute allegations made by the Philippine Red Cross.
The Red Cross sued Emano and a woman identified as Rhea Ritzie P. Nueva in connection with a 2013 agreement that allowed the latter to lease a 1,029-square meter property across the Northern Mindanao Medical Center, build structures on it and then engage in subletting. The humanitarian organization, claiming to be the owner of part of the property being leased by Nueva, filed a civil case, and one of its allegations was that the 2013 Emano-Nueva deal had no approval of the provincial board.
Pacana, in the verified answer for Emano, maintained that the 2013 agreement “was a legitimate transaction” entered into by the provincial government and Nueva’s company, Capitol Lease Ventures.
In the same document, Pacana asserted that Emano, being the governor, “was cloth (sic) with authority” based on the revenue code. He cited no specific provision in the Code to support his assertion.
Misamis Oriental’s 2005 Revenue Code or Provincial Ordinance 733-2005 set the rules for the collection of local taxes, and fees, among others, in the province. The provincial board amended it in Nov. 6, 2017, called it the “2017 Revenue Code of the Province of Misamis Oriental,” and the changes took effect Jan. 1, 2018.
The lease rate in the 2013 Emano-Nueva deal — P102,900 a month for the 1,029 square meters across the NMMC — is based on the 2005 Revenue Code.
Former vice governor Uy said he has forgotten details of the 2005 Revenue Code given that it was approved by the provincial board over a decade ago but it was very unlikely that the provincial legislature gave any governor the blanket authority to enter into lease or build-lease-transfer scheme contracts with anyone or any group.
“Dili ako makatu-o nga na-a kana diha. Mo-agi gayud siya’g authority gikan sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan labi na sa pagpa-lease diha,” Uy said.
He said the purpose of Provincial Ordinance 733-2005, otherwise known as the 2005 Revenue Code, was to prescribe rates and set the rules on the levying of taxes, fees, tax exemptions, incentives, and reliefs.
Neither did the 2005 Revenue Code authorize anyone to lease out parts of sidewalks and roads around the capitol, Uy said.
“Dili sab ko makato-o nga na-ay renta ana diha kay dili man parentahan kanang dalan,” he added.
The 2005 Code, written when Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno was the province’s governor, was approved by the Uy-led provincial board. Those who voted for its passage were Arsenio Kho Jr., Oliver Actub, Pepito Gambe, Francisco Bade, Norris Babiera, Santiago Sabal, Henry Clyde Abbot, Jimmy Caiña, Alejo Olano Jr., Eduardo Ayunting, Enerito Acain, and Pelaez, now the vice governor.