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Bohol dam controversy may end up in Supreme Court?
« on: July 10, 2007, 12:00:11 PM »
By BINGO P. DEJARESCO III
Editor in Chief of the Bohol Chronicle

The legal opinion on the controversial BHIP-2 case of the Government Office of Corporate Counsel is given equal weight by NEDA as that of the Department of Justice.

That is the reason both opinions were sought by NEDA since after the ICC refused to endorse the cost overrun proposal (of NIA) of P1.2 billion to DBM (Department of Budget and Management) - branding it "excessive" and "illegal."

It would be awkward for Government to have differing legal opinions (GOCC and DOJ) on the matter. But even if both concur, any Filipino taxpayer or corporation can file a case that could even end up with the Supreme Court.

In the PIATCO cast at the NAIA, the contract deemed "disadvantageous to government" was rescinded and the contractor reimbursed only for "just and reasonable" expenses so advanced on the project. The NIA had always contended that the BHIP-2 case is not similar to the PIATCO case and is ruled by international law.
          
All international grant and loan lenders to the Philippines, however, are keenly watching the case. If the Courts ignore the "professional" opinion of their "watchdog" (the ICC) to help oversee their funds extended to the Philippines, it could affect their appetite for future deals in the absence of an "oversight" committee with authority.

Meantime, Secretaries Romulo Neri and Arthur Yap of the NEDA and Department of Agriculture respectively were re-appointed to the Cabinet by President Arroyo recently to affirm her confidence in their capability and judgment. Some quarters had reportedly tried to influence PGMA to rid the Palace of some members of the official family.

On the other hand, all heads of government-owned and operated corporations have been asked to give their resignation papers. This is the one large group that has been draining the Philippine budget through the years through huge corporate losses due to corruption, inefficiency and "white elephants."

Meantime, it was gathered that the "Probe Team" of ABS CBN and Channel 7 are reportedly set to visit Bohol soon to dig deeper into the controversy. The Business Mirror, one of the country's only two business dailies, ran a series of articles for seven issues since January 2007 regarding the BHIP-2. The paper quoted the NEDA Director extensively.

Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Juan L. Mercado detailed the technical problems the project may be facing by quoting experts recently. The same leading daily twice featured the other controversial dam in Talibon in the past. Channel 7's "Imbestigador" covered the Talibon case twice as well.

The offices of the NEDA and Department of Agriculture accessed local news through the Internet and copies of home-grown newspapers.

Linkback: https://tubagbohol.mikeligalig.com/index.php?topic=2570.0
Romans 10:9
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