Bencyrus Ellorin .
THE political opposition has gone hostile in their mad ruckus to discredit the administration of Mayor Oscar Moreno.
Not content with calling the mayor “kawatan” 24-7, they now insinuate that City Hall is a den of thieves with department heads making business with the local government. In both instances, they do not offer proof. Cases, even a million cases cannot be used as evidence of wrongdoing. Until the highest court says so, everyone is presumed innocent.
What they did was use the General Information Sheet of a company which is into real estate business and then cry foul, because the key incorporators happen to be officers of the local government.
Just because the incorporators of the company are city hall officials does not mean something is wrong, that a law is violated.
Owning a company is not illegal.
The law on conflict of interest is clear. An employee of the government cannot engage business with his or her government agency. Elected officials have to divest business interests.
Every day on radio and social media, Pompee La Viña and his paid hacks call these officials “kawatan, kurakot, bitches” without offering any proof they have committed unethical and unlawful business with the City Hall.
The accusations against the firm Seers are unfounded, malicious and lies. First, never did the owners of the real estate company hide their venture. In fact, they have even shown to the world that Seers stands for Sabuga-a, Elot, Egypto, Rivera and Salazar. They even posted photos themselves in social media arranged in that order.
What is clear is that there is none on record that Seers transacted with City Hall. What they do, is like any real estate business does, which is sell houses, apartments, condo units and lots — real estate.
What I know is that Beda Elot, the city accountant, is a licensed real estate broker, and city community affairs head Oliver Egypto is a licensed real estate appraiser. Elot is also a certified public accountant and lawyer. The other incorporators are Teddy Sabuga-a, the city administrator, Maricel Casino-Rivera, the city information officer, and lawyer Percy Salazar, the budget officer.
True, they hold key positions, but nothing stops them from engaging in a business venture as long as their dealings do not constitute conflict of interest. So far, no evidence of conflict of interest has been forwarded against them.
Government employees are encouraged to engage in legitimate livelihood outside their employment. Employees, for example, are encouraged to venture into cooperatives to have additional income. The law even allows employees cooperative to engage business with their agencies.
Having other livelihood aside from salary provides government employees with financial security that keeps them away from tinkering with public funds and prevents them from sharing their talents to the private sector and abroad. In fact, the owners of Seers can surely have better earnings outside. No need explaining, these people have solid competences and bodies of work.
The problem with twisting facts is that it makes something that’s perfectly regular, legal, look illegal and irregular. That is bad.
I am friends with the owners of Seers. Does that make me what Pompee and his hacks make of them?
Of course, saying so without proof would be foul, malicious and extreme prejudice.
(The writer is a former journalist and independent campaigner for the environment and good governance. He is now into PR and community development work. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)