Balili kin, Bolo post bail, says Capitol lot purchase ‘legal’

Posted on July 24, 2012

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Though all of 84 years old, Amparo Balili still managed to walk through the doors of the Palace of Justice to post bail on charges filed against her in relation to the 2008 Balili property purchase.

Balili, along with former board member Juan Bolo and lawyer Romeo Balili, each posted a P30,000 bail pending trial on charges of illegal use of public funds filed against them before the Sandiganbayan.

They were accused of conspiring with Capitol officials led by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for the irregular purchase of 24.7-hectares of beach front property in Naga City worth P98.9 million.

A government survey later revealed that the property is mostly underwater or classified as coastal timberland. Governor Garcia and provincial engineer Eulogio Pelayre posted bail last Friday.

The other respondents—provincial treasurer Roy Salubre, provincial budget officer Emme Gingoyon, and retired provincial assessor Anthony Sususco—are still processing their bail as of yesterday.

All the respondents will be arraigned before the Sandiganbayan within 30 days.

In an interview, Amparo said there was nothing anomalous in the purchase and it was aboveboard.

“I never expected to be included in this case. We can’t help it. It’s there. I could not do anything. Let the lawyer take care of that,” she said.

Lawyer Romeo Balili, the executor of the Balili Estate, said they expected the filing of the charges against them after Rep. Tomas Osmena of Cebu City’s south district announced an impending suspension order on the governor.

“The Ombudsman resolution was unfair. I’m just an executor. There were no anomalies in the transaction. We never deceived the province. We are just included because of political enmity,” Romeo said.

Bolo said he is innocent of the charges and that he only acted upon the orders of Governor Garcia.

Now based in Dapitan, he said there was no legal basis in filing the charges against him.

“I just complied orders. Why am I carrying the burden now?,” he said.

Bolo also questioned the Sandiganbayan’s ruling to drop the charges on the Provincial Board (PB), saying they should have been included.

Bolo said the province intends to use the lot as a port.
However, the Capitol presently wants to use the Balili lot as an area where coal ashes will be disposed.

“The province won’t be disadvantaged. In fact, it (disposal of coal ash) is beneficial to the province. There is no injury on the part of the government,” Bolo said.

Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said she was shocked by Bolo’s contention that she and the rest of the board be included in the charges.

“I don’t know… it went through a process. We are 11 and we have the same roles. Me, in particular, I have no special role,” she said.

She also refuted allegations by some members of the United Nationalist Alliance that the Balili ruling had something to do with the recent alliance of her Bakud Party with the Liberal Party (LP).

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), allege that the governor’s impending suspension is “political harassment” since Garcia is part of their senatorial lineup. /Ador Vincent Mayol and Katreena Bisnar with a report from Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus

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