Guv to send Gwen demand letter

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014


CEBU Governor Hilario Davide III said the Province will be sending demand letters to former governor and now Representative Gwen Garcia (Third district, Cebu Province) and contractors who implemented some projects between 2008 and 2011.

The Commission on Audit (COA) found the payment of some P540 million worth of projects illegal as they did not bear the Provincial Board’s approval.

Some of these 58 projects whose payment COA disallowed include the P97.8-million Danao Provincial Hospital, the P58.3-million Balamban Provincial Hospital and road rehabilitation projects in the first district.

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Davide said he referred the matter to the Local Finance Committee. He said they will go with the committee’s recommendation on how they will proceed.

“We can start sending out demand letters to contractors and the former governor,” he said, adding that their move will be based on COA’s recommendation.

When pressed for specifics, the governor said, “On my own, I cannot decide, I will ask about options available to the Provincial Government.”

Garcia’s counsel Lito Astillero said COA’s recommendations are not based on the law.

He said the Local Government Code of 1991 cited in Section 305-A that no money shall be paid except in pursuance of an appropriation ordinance.

He said Section 306-B provides that appropriation refers to an authorization made by an ordinance directing payment of goods and services from local government funds under specified conditions or for the specific purpose.

Astillero said since there is already an appropriation ordinance, COA is asking for another legislative act for the fund release, which is not in accordance with the law.

Legislators

In their June 9 PB session, some legislators were wondering why Capitol officials kept on repeating the same offense, from 2008 to 2011, despite COA’s findings that contracts and payments were unauthorized.

Officials liable are those who signed the contract, those who issued and who signed the payment checks.

Last January 14, 2014, Provincial Accountant Marieto Ypil said the Capitol owes P607.2 million to 31 contractors. Provincial Engineer Hector Jamora said P250 million worth of projects were completed and payment may be considered demandable.

Davide, in an earlier interview, said he is willing to face contractors if they raise the matter in court. (OCP)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 24, 2014.

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