• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Provincial Legal Office has issued show cause orders against two more employees of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, in connection with the missing 789 missing sacks of fertilizers valued at P2,367,000, at the Rice Processing Center (RPC) in Brgy. Tabunan, Bago City, Negros Occidental.
Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Alberto Nellas Jr. yesterday said that a show cause orders were issued and received on May 2 by Joy Cardinal and Herminigildo Basilio, both OPA employees assigned at the Rice Processing Center.
Cardinal and Basilio, who have already been reassigned, were given five days after receiving the show cause order to submit their explanation, Nellas said.
He however said that there is no basis to issue a show cause order against the three security personnel assigned at the center since they were only tasked to protect and secure its perimeter.
It is the OPA responsible for the safeguarding and release of the contents of the warehouse, he stressed.
Nellas disclosed that it was on October last year that the missing fertilizers were discovered, and the final report was submitted to them by OPA early last month, for consideration of administrative proceedings.
In a memorandum order issued by the Provincial Administrator’s Office dated April 27, it said that fertilizers allotted to the Rice Processing Center were not withdrawn completely on October 1, 2022, “because there were no fertilizers left,” citing the report of Provincial Agriculturist Edmundo Causing.
It also said that in October 18 last year, the municipality of Cauayan reported that they were not able to withdraw the fertilizers allotted to them at the RPC storage, since there were no more left.
During an inventory, it was found out that 789 bags of fertilizers with an established value of P2,367,000 were missing from the RPC storage, Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz said in his issued memorandum.
Failure to submit an explanation “shall be considered a waiver thereof and the preliminary investigation maybe completed even without your explanation, comment or affidavit,” Diaz said, apparently referring to Basilio and Cardinal.
Early this year, provincial government staff of Negros Occidental were dismissed from public service for having a drinking spree while on official travel in Victorias City.
The Provincial Legal Office is also wrapping its investigation against another OPA employee, Engr. Jimbo Garsula, for a similar offense.
“This administration is serious about anomalies,” disclosed Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson earlier.
An investigation is also ongoing on the case of three missing grass cutters valued at P20,000, which were delivered and left behind at the Infotech area, also in Brgy. Tabunan, Bago City.
Lacson said “they can’t get away with it, once we take notice of it. All these should stop already.”*