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CCW Bicol Chair wants to pursue AHECS query

NAGA CITY – There seems to be a brewing misunderstanding between CCW Bicol Chairman Diego Magpantay, Jr., and CCW Albay Provincial Chapter head Evangeline G. Marinay that could derail the investigation of the alleged anomalies in the implementation of the P700 million scholarship program in Albay.
Citizens Crime Watch
Citizens Crime Watch
In an interview by BICOL STANDARD yesterday, Magpantay said that Marinay could not perform her task as representative of the Citizens Crime Watch, because she is perceived to be covering up the alleged anomalies of several high-ranking officials of the province.

“In order to erase doubts, she (Marinay) must not even be part of the investigating committee. As CCW Albay chair, she has not initiated any move to quell or denounce many reported anomalies involving officials in Albay province and other government agencies. She was tagged by local media in Albay as an alleged ally of Governor Salceda,” Magpantay lamented.

“We could not have a through and impartial audit of Albay Higher Education Contributing System (AHECS) anomalies, if a member of the investigation group has, at the outset, already exonerated the persons who are to be investigated,” Magpantay emphasized.

Magpantay told BICOL STANDARD that last week an audit team was organized and tasked to scrutinize the documents involving the P700 million AHECS program.

Yesterday, however, he was caught by surprise when he went to Albay, only to be informed that the investigation was already concluded.

According to Magpantay, the investigation could not be completed in a very short span of time because there are voluminous documents that must be scrutinized to have a full dress investigation.

Earlier, CCW Secretary General Carlo Magno Batalla also announced that, indeed, an audit team would be organized to conduct a thorough inventory and investigation of the AHECS program.

The group would be headed by Ret. Regional Trial Court Judge Amado Calderon and three other members.

On the other hand, Atty. Pete “Bitay” Principe, President of the Philippine Trial Lawyers Association, would serve as the legal consultant.

Magpantay clarified that as Regional Chairman of CCW, he had received numerous complaints from Albay regarding the AHECS program of the provincial government.

It is just proper that the people must be made fully aware of the transactions. Further, he said, the audit that would be conducted by CCW would spell out if there were violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Prior to this, CCW said that Provincial Administrator Eriberto Lero Berces III confirmed in a letter addressed to CCW Chairman Jose Malvar Villegas, Jr. that Governor Joey Salceda also approved the audit.

Meanwhile, Magpantay explained that he would not rest until this issue is properly addressed. He, however, told BICOL STANDARD that he would discuss this matter with the ranking officials of CCW to make them aware of the situation. – BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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