Embattled casino gaming commission consultant Oscar C. Rasa said yesterday he welcomed a Senate committee plan to reopen an oversight investigation into his controversial employment contract, but dared Sen. David M. Cing to relinquish the chairmanship to ensure impartiality of the probe.
If the oversight hearing pushes through, this will be the second time that Cing, chairman of the Executive Appointments and Government Investigations, would undertake such Senate inquiry involving the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission.
Rasa’s $100,000 professional service contract has been drawn anew into a controversy after Tinian Mayor Francisco C. Borja pressed for his ouster on grounds that his employment was improper.
According to Cing, the investigation will tackle Rasa’s four-year contract, which ends next year, and the scope of his function in the commission, a plan that is expected to spark a political showdown ahead of the mid-term elections in November.
Cing, a Democrat, is seeking another term, while Rasa, a former House speaker, is a key adviser of the Republicans in the island municipality. Reports say that Rasa has successfully convinced Democratic Rep. Jose A. Hocog to switch party and challenge Cing.
“I don’t have any objection or hesitancy appearing before any competent board of inquiry,” Rasa said in a phone interview, “but I will not subject myself to a kangaroo hearing or Sen. Cing’s political agenda.”
According to Rasa, Cing must show sincerity to prove that the oversight would be for public’s interest and not a political tool to gain political and media mileage.
“Cing should relinquish the chairmanship to prove that his sincere and that the investigation will be impartial and non-political otherwise this oversight would only tantamount to abuse of power and discretion to satisfy his personal curiosity for political reasons,” Rasa said.
The former speaker cited a previous hearing by Cing which he said became a venue to attack the senator’s political rivals. “Every election year Cing would come out for an oversight because he is not doing much in the Senate as he wants us to believe and he wants to find a escape goat. “Rasa said.
According to Rasa, in Cing’s bid for a senatorial seat he used the same issue against rivals Steven King and Melinda King in the 1991 and 1995 elections.
“Now it’s Hocog against Cing. He’s using the same pattern because he wants to hide behind the casino issue for non-performance in the Senate,” Rasa said.