By Herbert Vego
THIS writer writes “intervention” with quotation marks in the absence of proof that somebody powerful could have stopped the Sandiganbayan from imposing a 90-day suspension on Antique Governor Rhodora “Dodod” Cadiao.
To sum it up, the Sandiganbayan, in a resolution dated September 21, 2023 and publicly announced on the 26th, suspended Cadiao for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019).
I had refrained from writing about it until now that the cat had come out of the bag.
As every Antiqueño now knows, Gob Dodod got herself in hot water almost four months ago – specifically on June 6 – when Associate Justice Maria Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta of the Sandiganbayan signed an arrest warrant for her. Naturally, she had no choice but to post bail.
But of course, she called it “politically motivated” without naming any politician.
The case stemmed from a complaint initially filed by Antonio dela Vega, head of the Provincial General Services Office, before the Office of the Ombudsman, accusing Cadiao of non-payment of ₱1.665 million for his salaries and other benefits from 2016 to 2018.
Woman scorned kuno si Cadiao in the wake of Dela Vega’s refusal to obey her order transferring him from his main office in the capital town of San Jose to far-away Culasi.
The governor was probably confident that she would win the case eventually. After all, she was an ally of the influential Senator Loren Legarda, who had been congresswoman of Antique.
In fact, Cadiao ran for re-election in 2022 in tandem with Loren’s brother, the now Congressman Antonio Agapito “AA” Legarda Jr.
Soon, however, the Maritesses of the province spread the rumor that all was no longer well with their “unity” due to conflict in political aspirations. I would rather not confirm this matter for lack of solid evidence.
Suffice it to say, however, that since she is a “graduating” governor, she could run against re-electionist Cong. AA Legarda in 2025.. So, why would Loren lift a finger to influence the Sandiganbayan, assuming she were so influential? Kasadya ah.
Now, does Dodod regret not having teamed up with the defeated congressional candidate, lawyer Ade Fajardo?
It does not matter. The crime attributed to her was her sole accountability. Fajardo, until then the national president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), has no record of defending abusive governors.
Another unconfirmed rumor that spread like wildfire in Antique was that Dodod was counting on the influence of Vice-President Sara Duterte. After all, Sara’s power over the courts is legendary.
Remember when, as mayor of Davao City, Sara punched court sheriff Abe Andres on the face for obeying a court order to demolish shanties in Barangay Soliman, Agdao district sometime in 2011?
In behalf of the humiliated sheriff, the Sheriffs Confederation of the Philippines (Scophil) filed a case against her before the Office of the Ombudsman for direct assault under Article 148 of the Revised Penal Code; and at the Supreme Court for violations of several canons and rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility. As to how the cases ended, I “googled” in vain.
Back to the suspended Antique governor, I no longer see her seeking the VP’s intercession. Sara is so busy fighting for her own “spend-it-all” multimillion-peso confidential and intel funds that she would have no time to even comfort the beleaguered governor.
To Gob Dodod, this corner wishes you better luck after 90 days.
MORE BILL REFUNDS IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS
An additional PHP3.3 million in bill-deposit refunds await religiously-paying electricity consumers before or in time for Christmas 2023.
MORE Electric and Power Corporation (MORE Power) targets 777 “bill returnees” in addition to the 175 consumers who had already been refunded with a total of PHP539,000 from June until this month of September.
“Since we have no intention of using or retaining these funds for our operations, it’s only fair to promptly return them to our customers,” MORE Power president and chief executive officer Roel Castro told the Iloilo media.
Entitled to deposit refunds are those who have not missed paying their bills for three consecutive years even before the termination of their contract. Those eligible for a refund are notified through a letter attached to their bills.
The distribution utilities require new “connectors” to deposit an amount equivalent to their expected one-month bill as mandated by the Magna Carta for Residential Electricity Consumers.