‘Unauthorized’ transactions of executive branch questioned

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Thursday, December 12, 2013


THE Cebu City Council found a couple of transactions conducted by the executive branch at City Hall that did not have the permission of the legislative body.

One of the transactions was the P3.7-million drainage improvement project in Barangay Sawang Calero.

The other transaction was the payment of US$56,000 for the shipping cost of donated life support equipment from the United States. The amount was charged to the Philippine and Amusement Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) funds of the Cebu City Government.

The equipment is stored at the Cebu International Port (CIP).

The City Council learned about the transactions only when separate resolutions were filed seeking authorization for them.

Councilor Roberto Cabarrubias yesterday filed a resolution to authorize Mayor Michael Rama to sign a contract with Gonzalodo Enterprises to implement the drainage improvement project.

But Councilor Margarita Osmeña, citing project documents, pointed out that the drainage improvement began on April 23 and was completed last Nov. 24.

The project was awarded to Gonzalodo on Feb. 21 but there was no notice to proceed attached to the documentation of the project.

There were two certificates of availability of funds signed with the latest one issued last Dec. 3 by City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas.

Study

“Work has been completed and why are we authorizing the mayor just now?” asked Osmeña.

Cabarrubias suggested that his resolution be referred to the committee on laws for further study and recommendation.

Councilor Gerardo Carillo said perhaps the executive wanted the council to ratify the contract.

Councilors James Cuenco and Dave Tumulak filed a separate resolution that would authorize Rama to accept the deed of acceptance of the donation of used and new life equipment from Oliver Lagare of the AM-Phil Equipment and Logistics.

Shipping

A separate but related resolution was passed for the charging of the $56,000-shipping cost.

But these have already arrived in Cebu City.

The resolutions were referred to the committees on social services and budget and finance but Cuenco said a certificate of availability of funds was attached to the resolution to charge the shipping cost to Pagcor funds.

“We have to refer this to determine its propriety because the shipping cost is around P2 million,” said Carillo. He said the equipment might cost less than the shipping cost.

Equipment

But Tumulak said one ambulance already cost P2 million and the City got two from the US.

Cebu City also got 10 inflatable boats with engine, three used speed boats, and two
used jet skis from the US.

In one resolution, Cuenco and Tumulak said there is a need to expedite the shipping of the equipment.

But Tumulak admitted that the equipment are already in Cebu, although they cannot be released until the shipping fee has been paid.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said the committee on social services and budget and finance can look into issues surrounding the transactions.

Tumulak said Cebu City also got a firetruck from its sister-city Yeosu, Korea and this would be released upon payment of P100,000 “shipping” fee. He has yet to file a resolution covering the payment of the shipping fee.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 12, 2013.

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