By Elmer James Bandol
LEGAZPI CITY, 8Aug2013 (BicolToday.com) – For the second time, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay (SPA) has showed reluctance to rebuff the reappointment of Exequiel V. Rieza, provincial information officer (PIO), who failed to appear twice in regular sessions, while unanimously concurred the Provincial Administrator’s appointment who earlier resigned from his post.
“I deeply regret to reiterate my previous stand denying the reappointment of the Provincial Information Officer” laments Board Member Jose Marino B. Madrilejos, chairman committee on laws, oversight and ethics, that requested, for the second time, the PIO and the Provincial Administrator, Ereberto Leroy Berces to appear before the 6th regular session on Tuesday.
During the said session Berces was present and given a chance to explain his side following the suspension of the rules by the presiding Vice-Gov Harold O. Imperial. According to Madrilejos, the PIO sent a letter that he was in Manila during the first invitation but without explanation for his no show again to the second invitation. Rieza sent to this writer his text comment by saying:” I respect the decision of the SPA”
“I was denied for the second time. First my resignation was denied by the governor and next the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in its previous session” Berces said he already filed his resignation, however, no action from the governor. He was apologetic to the Board Members in his failure to attend the first invitation on July 31, 2013, explaining further the importance of the legislative concurrence as he was once councilor in Tabaco City. Following Berces’ explanations, the SPA unanimously approved his reappointment and photo ops followed.
Earlier, Board Member Job B. Belen stood up to comment that in denying the reappointed heads of offices was only “ to give signal the importance of their appearance before this august body”. Another Board Member, Glenda Bongao, has asked as to when the governor can reappoint the denied appointee. Madrilejos, who is a lawyer, said that the SPA is given 15 days to act on the request for confirmation of the appointees by the governor.
In denying Rieza’s appointment, Madrilejos explained:” We don.t want to make enemy here, but we have to dance with the song” and saying that a letter of appeal was sent by Gov. Joey S. Salceda that the non-appearance of his PIO happened in an urgent situation when power cut off happened in Albay.
Controversies are piling up behind the office of Rieza which include among others the delayed payments of radio advertisements of the province; like the governor, he is seldom seen in his office; and his connection to a local newspaper, Albay Journal, that publishes press releases about the governor. Though, Rieza denied receiving payments for capitol advertisements, he is being touted in media community as “PIO millionaire”.
Asked to comment on Rieza’s acquired house and lot, Salceda send email saying: “ I have checked with Pagibig, it was secured by the wife at P2.2m payable in 30 years payable at 20% of their combined salary”.
Salceda also reacted in the same email the delayed concurrence of the SPA to the appointees and said: “10 SPA members informed me that it was due to their failure to give the customary appearance. They committed to approve once they appear in session. With respect to your allegations, no one has informed me before at all about them and I had them checked and I believe that I have no basis to withdraw my trust.” [BicolToday.com]