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Emano keeps mum on 2013 lease deal

By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG with
NITZ ARANCON
Correspondents

MISAMIS Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano yesterday kept mum as a copy of a 2013 document signed by him and a woman named Rhea Ritzie P. Nueva surfaced, showing that the stalls blamed for much of the sidewalk and road obstructions around the capitol are spin-offs of the lease agreement.

Emano spoke before other capitol officials and employees during their Monday gathering for a flag-raising program where he carped about Mayor Oscar Moreno’s statement during a DxIF-Bombo Radyo interview that the monuments the capitol built when he (Moreno) was governor didn’t require a building permit. He said Moreno was wrong because monuments are not exempted based on the Building Code.

During his speech, Emano also lashed out at provincial board members who questioned last week why the capitol-run de Lara Park remained closed until now. He dared one of the provincial board members, Jerry Khu, to manage the capitol park, a challenge the latter accepted.

But Emano was silent about his 2013 lease agreement with Nueva, and the sidewalk and road obstructions in the capitol compound — he avoided reporters regularly covering the capitol. No capitol official could also say who Nueva is and how she managed to convince the governor to allow her to lease a 1,029-square meter prime property for P102,900 a month for her subleasing venture.

The capitol has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the agreement, a deal which, based on a certification from the office of the provincial board secretary, was made without authority from the province’s legislature.

The 2013 document showed that Emano allowed Nueva to build a multi-unit edifice on a prime capitol property across the state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center, and to engage in subletting with her dictating the rates.

The Emano-Nueva contract did not reach the provincial board, showed a 2017 certification signed by Melina Pioquinto, then the officer-in-charge of the office of secretary of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

After the flag-raising program, Emano used the backstage as he walked towards his office apparently to steer clear of reporters wanting to ask him about the 2013 deal with Nueva.

It was unusual for Emano who is known to interact with reporters and who makes it a point to answer their questions right after his Monday morning speeches at the capitol grounds.

Reporters from different media outfits quickly followed Emano to his office where a member of his staff said the governor was busy and has no time for interviews.

Emano has kept mum since last week over questions about exactly what he intends to do about the obstructions on the sidewalks and roads in the capitol compound vis-à-vis the Duterte administration’s order for local governments to “reclaim” public roads.

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