Mayor scoffs at complaint-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
“GOD, forgive them,” was the answer of Mayor Mauricio Domogan to his critics after hearing of a second Ombudsman complaint filed against him by one of his opponents in the mayoralty race in 2013.
Domogan dismissed anew the second complaint on alleged overpricing of the city’s Christmas tree along Upper Session Road.
The complaint was filed last Friday by independent mayoralty candidate Peter Dulay Puzon who claims to be a journalist and publisher of the Citizen’s Advocate newsletter.
The complaint named Domogan as the only respondent and detailed several incidents where the mayor allegedly mentioned the P600,000 expense for the Christmas Tree.
The complainant questioned an over expense in constructing the 20-foot Christmas tree made up of green plastic netting, steel pipes and artificial wreath cord.
He also said canvassing the prices of materials for the tree would not cost the amount mentioned in the bid.
He sought for the Ombudsman’s investigation on what he claims as violations of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act and for the preventive suspension of the mayor.
But Mayor Domogan laughed at these complaints claiming these as mere harassment and malicious rumors.
He also shrugged off an earlier Ombudsman complaint filed against him by a trade fair organizer who filed graft charges against him, Vice Mayor Daniel Fariñas and several councilors.
The mayor emphasized he did not prepare the budget for the city’s Christmas decorations this year nor was he part of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC), which awarded the contract to a bidder.
He said his only participation was affixing his signature after the winning bidder was selected by the BAC.
Mayor Domogan also stressed such transactions will also pass through the Commission on Audit, which will determine if there are irregularities in transactions made by the City Government.
Last week, in his Ugnayang Panglungsod press conference, the mayor also lashed at his critics in several groups on social networking site Facebook claiming they should get the facts straight and get reliable documents to prove what they are saying as they are only spreading malicious rumors.
He also challenged his critics, who claim that they can build the Christmas tree at cheaper costs, why they were not able to join the bid.
The mayor also cleared the P600,000 allotted for decoration was further reduced to P520,000 during the bid. He also stressed the fund does not cover the price for the Christmas tree but also other decorations in the Central Business District.
He said his critics should be able to get hold of the documents of expenses for them to have basis for comparison.
In his press conference last week, he said malicious rumors and unfounded criticisms have been circulating over the Internet without basis and are always pinpointing him and Representative Bernardo Vergara as the cause of the problem.
Comparing with Christmas spending of other highly urbanized cities, the mayor also said Baguio has among the least expenses.
While other towns boast of multimillion peso expenses for Christmas, the city only pegged its expenses to P1 million that will include decorations, activities institutionalized by the city such as Silahis ng Pasko and Diwa ng Pasko, New Year’s fireworks displays, concerts and chorale competitions among many other activities to draw tourists this Christmas.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 08, 2013.