Abra gov-elect says ‘takeover’ claim a misunderstanding
BAGUIO CITY–Abra Governor-elect Maria Jocelyn Valera-Bernos on Friday (May 20) said reports that her supporters had attempted to take over the provincial Capitol ahead of July 1 were a misunderstanding.
Bernos, the outgoing Abra congresswoman, said provincial officials may have misinterpreted a call she made on May 11 to the provincial general services office to conduct an inventory of government property for which she would be taking custody.
“On Tuesday (May 10), before my proclamation, I was informed about people hauling out things from the Capitol [in the capital, Bangued town],” Bernos said, prompting her to ask for an equipment audit after she was proclaimed the winner of the May 9 gubernatorial contest.
“They were bringing out bags of fertilizers and water pumps which were hauled to a private compound in [the neighboring town of] Peñarubbia,” she said.
The audit required provincial office heads and employees to deliver their service vehicles to the government motorpool for the inventory, Bernos said.
On May 12, outgoing Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin had requested a special task force composed of the police and army soldiers to secure the Capitol, fearful that a takeover attempt could escalate tension in the province, which was placed under the control of the Commission on Elections.
Bersamin on May 13 said he remained the governor until June 30.
But Bernos said Bersamin had misinterpreted the audit being conducted by the general service office.
“The governor may not have known that things were being pulled out of the Capitol on May 10. I don’t know if he was told,” she said. CDG/rga
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