Saturday, September 23, 2006

‘Pryce takes care of Moreno’s bills’

MISAMIS Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno has virtually turned Pryce Plaza Hotel into a home away from home and the hotel’s sister company has long been footing the bill, the governor’s accusers alleged on Wednesday.

"He (Moreno) has a very extravagant lifestyle and this does not speak well of his call for austerity measures in the provincial government,’’ said Ronnie Waniwan, one of the radio blocktimers who filed two complaints for graft against Moreno before the ombudsman.

Eddie Dangcal, another Moreno accuser, said he and Waniwan can support their claims with documents.

Waniwan said the documents would show that Moreno has been receiving favors from Pryce Gases, a sister company of the city’s premier hotel. The firm operates a plant in Barangay Baliwagan, Balingasag, Moreno’s hometown.

He said documents he and Dangcal have show that Moreno’s hotel bills reached some P200 thousand and that Pryce Gases was supposed to shoulder it.

Waniwan said he and Dangcal scrutinized the documents, and discovered that Moreno has been frequenting if not, staying in the hotel for quite some time already.

‘‘He usually stays at Room 202," said Waniwan, citing the alleged documents he and Dangcal unearthed.

Moreno’s press officer Maricel Casiño-Rivera said the capitol has yet to release an official statement.

‘‘It’s not clear what documents they (Waniwan and Dangcal) are referring to. Unless they make it clear, it would be difficult for us to comment,’’ said Rivera in a phone interview.

Rivera said Moreno has not discussed the matter with her.

‘‘Personally, I don’t know anything about it so it’s really hard to comment,’’ said Rivera.

Rivera however said she was certain that neither Pryce Gases nor any of its sister companies was doing business in the capitol and therefore, no conflicts of interest.

No one from Pryce Plaza Hotel agreed to be interviewed by this paper yesterday.

Waniwan said Moreno should explain this in public.

‘‘Even if he (Moreno) says that he is paying for it from his own pocket, still it doesn’t look good because he is a public official who should have a simple lifestyle,’’ said Waniwan.

He said he and Dangcal were studying the possibility of pressing another charge against Moreno based on the documents they recently discovered.

Mindanao Gold Star Daily

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