Lingayen-- "We did not violate any law in the implementation of that project."
|Pangasinan Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan (R)|
and Governor Amado T. Espino.
Thus said Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan as he delivered a speech during the provincial employees Flag-Raising Ceremony held at the Capitol Plaza in Lingayen on November 3.
He was referring to the eco-tourism zone project where a golf course was supposed to have been built. However its construction had been put on hold after complainants filed a case before the office of the Ombudsman alleging that magnetite sand had been illegally extracted from the shores of Barangay Sabangan.
Baraan lamented, "As far as we know, we were doing everything within the bounds of the law and according to all regulations."
He stressed that had the implementation of the eco-tourism zone been completed, it would have spurred investment, increased influx of tourists arrivals and generated jobs to benefit the people of Pangasinan.
Despite this, the Office of the Ombudsman indicted Governor Amado T. Espino and 13 others for allegedly “engaging in the illegal black sand mining trade in the Lingayen Gulf area.”
Baraan, therefore, expressed grief that they have been indicted for the wrong reasons and that there is nothing to rectify as far as he is concerned.
"Gov. Espino has been trying his very best to really bring progress and prosperity in the province and to bring good things for the poor," he said.
“You have seen how he has tremendously improved our hospital operations and how he has laboured to provide livelihood opportunities for our people, “Baraan stressed.
Baraan added that the governor was not able to attend the ceremony because his mother -- who was again gravely affected by the recent turn of events -- had to be rushed to a hospital's ICU and that the governor was arranging for her transfer to a better hospital somewhere in Manila.
As this developed, Baraan said he filed a motion for reconsideration to the Ombudsman and expressed hope that the said office will consider their plea and to "put reason above politics and justice above politics".
He also urged employees to “never mind politics and to continue working” even as he added," You have done so much already over the last eight years and I hope you will continue working with even greater vigor and determination to negate the adverse effects of too much politics."
In a media interview, he further said that despite recent developments, he will be working hard as he stated," I think it is my right to continue working and to fight for what is just and what is right."
Baraan even cited that he had been serving the province since 1975 stressing that he has rendered service without personal agenda." /ADV/AJV