Discrepancies ‘found’ in multicab purchase

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Friday, July 25, 2014


PUBLIC documents supporting the purchase of 10 multicabs worth P1.25 million for barangays in Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island show inconsistencies in the dates of delivery and receipts of vehicles.

The amount was sourced from Rep. Benhur Salimbangon’s (Cebu, 4th district) Priority Development Assistance Fund.

Porta Coeli Industrial Co., a Norkis company, delivered the multicabs on April 6, 2010, but these were received a month before, or on March 24, 2010, as shown in the Property Acknowledgment Receipt signed by 10 barangay captains and Municipal Treasurer Roy Salubre.

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A copy of the supplier’s sales invoice for one of the multicabs bears an earlier date, Jan. 30, 2009.

‘Tampered’

In that sales invoice, Salimbangon’s name was covered by correction fluid and “Barangay Balidbid” was typed over it.

Also the same Barangay Balidbid multicab was registered at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) on May 22, 2009.

The bidding for the purchase of the 10 multicabs failed twice: in October 2009 and February 2010.

The vehicles were purchased during the administration of then mayor Jennifer Ilustrisimo.

When sought for his reaction, Salimbangon said he had no control over the purchase.

“Igo lang mi mo-request nga kani i-download ani nga barangay (They make the request and my office downloads the funds to the barangay),” he said.

Other recipients

On the tampered sales invoice, the congressman said the supplier might have committed an error.

Jose Esgana, the current mayor, and the town’s bids and awards committee (BAC) chairman Jeffrey Zamora said they were not aware of the acquisition as the vehicles were directly delivered to the barangays.

Aside from Balidbid, the other recipients were Barangays Pooc, Ukoy, Maricaban, Langub, Hagdan, Hilantagaan, Poblacion, Kinatarkan and Talisay.

Based on the supplier’s sampled “tampered” sales invoice, a multicab was sold to Barangay Balidbid on Jan 30, 2009. Then the unit was registered at LTO in May later that year.

Some P1.15 million, bearing a handwritten note from Salimbangon, was credited to the town’s account at the Development Bank of the Philippines in June 2009.

BAC held two biddings, one in October 2009 and another in February 2010, but declared both as failures.

COA stamp

Then on March 26, 2010, Salubre signed the inspection and acceptance report of 10 multicabs.

Property acknowledgment receipt was, however, signed two days earlier, or on March 24, by each recipient barangay captain.

The supplier’s delivery receipt for the 10 multicabs was issued on April 6, 2010. The statement of account for the vehicles was issued on April 13.

All documents bore the “pre-inspected” stamp of the Commission on Audit despite inconsistencies in dates, except for the supplier’s sales invoice and the LTO original registration-certificate of registration.

Zamora said his committee had no knowledge that the vehicles had been delivered after the two failed bids.

“Wa mi kabalo kay gi-diretso na na sa kapitan (We didn’t know the vehicles went straight to the captains),” he said.

He said they conducted the bidding upon the request of the chief executive and since the funds were available. Delivery and receiving the goods were not their responsibilities, he said.

Mayor Esgana admitted that he only learned about this during an inventory since some of the vehicles needed repair.

When he discovered that there were no vehicles’ transmittal papers from the town to different barangays, he realized that the units were directly delivered to the 10 barangays.

Esgana said the town has a copy of the sales invoice, not for each barangay, but for the 10 multicabs with the total amount of P1.25 million.

“Ang importante naa ang multicabs, nadawat nila (What is important is the multicabs are there and the barangays received it),” Salimbangon said.

The congressman said he usually received requests from barangay captains and chief
executives so he would download the amount directly to them.

“How they go about it, ilaha na na (that’s up to them),” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 26, 2014.

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