By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
MISAMIS Oriental Vice Gov. Jeremy Jonahmar Pelaez is looking into a provincial board investigation into the 2013 lease agreement between Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano and a mysterious sublessor named Rhea Ritzie P. Nueva.
Pelaez said the provincial board could also summon Nueva so as to give her the opportunity to shed light on her lease agreement with Emano.
The 2013 agreement that was supposedly renewed in 2016 allowed Nueva to lease a 1,029-square meter property across the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) for P102,900 a month, build stalls on it and then rent these out to others on her own terms and at rates she dictates. A March 17, 2017 certification from the provincial board secretary’s office, signed by Melina Pioquinto, shows the Emano-Nueva agreement did not have the approval of the province’s legislature.
Pelaez said the investigation in aid of legislation can start next month when the provincial board resumes its regular sessions.
The provincial board has suspended its sessions to enable it to deliberate on the Emano administration’s proposed budget.
The regular sessions would resume Nov. 11, according to provincial board member Dexter Yasay.
No capitol official could say exactly who Nueva is, and there has been no explanation yet on how the woman managed to make the governor give her a contract to lease, build and sublease a property without the approval of the provincial board.
Yasay said he welcomes Pelaez’s proposal for the provincial board to start tackling the Emano-Nueva deal.
“Walay problema nga iyang dalhon diha ug iklaro nila basta akong tambag lang sa ilang tulo, before discussing it, know the facts, details kay usahay dili magkainsayo ang ilang mga pulong diha,” said Yasay, referring to Vice Gov. Pelaez and Emano administration critics provincial board members Jerry Khu and Jessa Mugot.
Provincial board member Gerardo Sabal III said that like many people, he was waiting for Emano to make a clear statement about his agreement with Nueva, and he was “sure” that the governor would be able to give a good explanation.
“With all due respect to the governor, we will have to wait for his statement on that. Initially, he has been clear about that nga transaction allegedly ang tenant ug lessee nagsunod ug unsay nahipatik sa balaod. Mao kana ang pinakasiguro nga akong maingon.
“I will have to give it to the governor but I am pretty sure… mga 2014 man siguro pagsugod ana. Ang nagmugna niana gitan-aw ug unsay resikitos nga nahilatid sa balaod,” said Sabal.
Pelaez said his unsolicited advice to Emano is for him to seriously consider relocating the stalls.
“Mine is only a suggestion since I know nga di mana sila pwede basta-basta papahawaon diha kay naa may contract… Si gob ra gyud mahibalo, my only suggestion is i-relocate gyud ni sila,” said Pelaez, adding that the stalls and their extensions have clearly encroached on pathways and roads in the capitol.
He added: “It endangers the lives of our pedestrians. Let us not wait for any untoward incident that could happen in the future.”
Pelaez also called on Emano to heed what he described as a public clamor to rid the capitol sidewalks and roads of obstructions but at the same time, provide those who would be displaced with a relocation area so they would not lose their livelihood.
He said he was willing to help Emano. “Bisag wa ni niagi sa SP ang contract, hulat lang mi og unsay iyang plano regarding ana kay willing man sad mi mupagawas og ordinansa kung iya man na ipa-relocate nang mga vendors.”
Meanwhile, Pelaez has written to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to ask whether or not the capitol compound is exempted from President Duterte’s order for local governments to “reclaim” all public roads and sidewalks.
Pelaez said he had to ask the DILG because the position made public by the Emano administration about the capitol roads and sidewalks confused him.
He said the DILG has yet to respond to his written inquiry.