COA ‘disparities’ traced back to former mayor

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


BEFORE accusing the present administration of any wrongdoing, City Councilor President Elipe must explain to the people first the alleged infractions, based on the Commission on Audit (COA) report, committed by former city mayor and Elipe’s father-in-law Vicente Emano, a City Hall official said Tuesday.

During Monday’s regular session of the City Council, Elipe, in his special report, revealed that COA has noted 36 “problems,” most involving financial matters the City Government must rectify.

Tackling the city’s financial concerns “in aid of legislation,” Elipe said Mayor Oscar Moreno should answer the alleged irregularities contained in the 300-page COA report, some points he discussed during his more-than-an-hour report to the council.

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But, City Information Officer Maricel Casiño-Rivera said, Elipe failed to mention that of the 36 issues mentioned in the COA findings 31 of those belonged to the Emano administration.

“Only five items in the COA report were directed to Mayor Moreno. Most of the problems can be traced back to the time when Emano was still the city mayor,” Rivera told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

At present, Rivera added, the City Government is on the process of complying with the COA order on the five issues.

“The City Government is still preparing its position statements for submission to COA,” she said, adding the City Government under Moreno is in a better position to comply with the COA report than the previous administration which is no longer in power.

One of the issues the Emano administration has yet not cleared with COA, Rivera said, is the remaining unliquidated P195.372 million some of the villages availed in the form of various infrastructure projects, sourced from the city’s 20 percent Development Fund, released in 2011, 2012 and 2013. It is filed by COA in its report as Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) 4.

In the report, COA said: “The fund transfers to the barangays of P195.372 million for the implementation of 20 percent Development Fund (DF) projects were not liquidated contrary to Section 3.1 (pp. 10-11) of COA Circular 2012-001 dated June 14, 2012… Being funded by the 20 percent DF, the subject projects from the City’s fund transfers were not covered by the SP’s (Sangguniang Panlungsod) budget authorization required under Section 19 of COA Circular No. 2012-001.”

The recipients of the fund were barangays 1-18, 20-32, 34-40, Agusan, Baikingon, Balubal, Bayabas, Bayanga, Besigan, Bonbon, Bugo, Bulua, Camaman-an, Canitoan, Consolacion, Cugman, Dansolihon, FS Catanico, Gusa, Indahag, Kauswagan, Lapasan, Lumbia, Macabalan, Mambuaya, Pagalongan, Pagatpat, Patag, Pigsag-an, Puerto, Puntod, San Simon, Tablon, Taglimao, Tagpangi, Tignapoloan, Tuburan, and Tumpagon.

Half a million peso meals

Rivera said the past administration must also explain the meals worth almost half a million pesos that city officials, including Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas and Elipe, incurred during various dates on March of 2013. It is filed as AOM no. 33.

“Procurement of meals during meetings and conferences held on various dates in the total amount of P453,104.00 were awarded through shopping as alternative mode of procurement by the office/departments concerned without first securing the BAC’s (Bids and Awards Committee) recommendation contrary to Sectio 12.1 (j) of the revised IRR of RA 9184,” COA said.

COA added the propriety of said expenses could not be assessed “as the related disbursement were not supported with documents or purposes and guests entertained not indicated and other documentation which is contrary to Section 4 (6) of PD 1445. Two inconsistent accounts… were used in charging the expenses.”

The state auditors also questioned the manner the Emano administration spent for the rehabilitation of the City Central School building damaged by a fire in 2012, costing the city P33.188 million.

In its recommendation, the Physical Facilities and Schools Engineering Division (PFSED) of the Department of Education (DepEd) noted that “the structural member of the burned building is no longer safe. Thus it is no longer fit for occupancy. A reconstruction of a new building is highly recommended.”

In her June 17, 2014 letter to schools division superintendent Elena Borcillo, Engr. Annabelle Pangan, PFSED-OPS assistant chief, said the renovated building was not at par with the correct building standards.

“… The attached findings reveal that actual works done by the LGU’s contractor are not satisfactory because of two reasons. First, the second floor slab failed in the core test conducted. Second, the second floor slab-beam connection could not be established, even with inspections made by our technical representatives from the University of the Philippines and the DepEd on the repairs made by the LGU.”

For its part, the COA noted: “The City Government entered into contract for the Rehabilitation/Improvement of ‘fire damaged’ City Central School building in the amount of P33.188 million without reference to DPWH in the conduct of detailed engineering, resulting in the prosecution of the project which is not safe for occupancy as the DPWH recommended reconstruction instead of rehabilitation.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 16, 2014.

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