Messed-up Talisay City

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014


IT CAN now be told that even blood relatives cannot be given full confidence on matters that involve the managing of government affairs.

Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes (JVR), after his upset victory over former congressman Eddie Gullas last year, appointed persons with whom he has trust and confidence to key positions in City Hall. He appointed his son John Yre as city administrator.

But after the Talisay City College controversy, Mayor JVR is again under fire, this time by the Commission on Audit (COA). State auditors uncovered an overlapping of functions in offices the mayor created.

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In an audit memorandum dated April 7, 2014, COA identified the offices of the Project Monitoring Team, Job Order Monitoring Team, the Flying Squad Task Force Patrol, the Indigent Pharmacy, the Text to the Mayor and the Mayor’s Task Force (MTF). These duplicated the work of the City Engineer’s Office, the Civil Security Unit (CSU), the City of Talisay Traffic Operations and Development Authority (CT-TODA), the City Health Office and the Talisay Rescue and Emergency Assistance Team (TREAT).

COA auditor Ma. Daisy Bercede recommended that the city to review the duties and responsibilities of the regular and job-order employees to prevent overlapping or duplication of functions, as this has resulted to longer processing time, possible loss of documents, conflicts, and waste of man-hours and money.

Instead of complying with COA’s recommendation, John Yre denied that the offices created by his father overlapped with the existing offices. In doing so, John Yre only exposed his ignorance. Worse, he pretended to know better than the state auditors.

I would even say, without fear of contradiction, that these offices, like the Flying Squad Task Force Patrol, were created at John Yre’s instance since he probably wanted to make an impression on their constituents.

Aside from the duplication of work, Mayor JVR is also haunted by the nepotism issue for hiring his children and relatives to work in City Hall.

The mayor should have known that running the city is not for amateurs. Perhaps, Mayor JVR’s intention to hire his son and relatives to work in City Hall was well-meaning but he failed to see the repercussions.

Look at John Yre. He’s got air in his head already. Just because he is the son of the city mayor, he snubbed an invitation to appear in the city council so he could explain why some projects were implemented without the council’s approval.

John Yre’s attitude doesn’t reflect the supposed good character of his father. It only shows he is hiding something from the city council.

Mayor JVR is/was a businessman. But he cannot run the city government the way he ran his business with the members of his family.

We can only surmise that Mayor JVR created those new offices, whose functions overlapped with other offices at City Hall, to perhaps suit his political agenda.

Talisay City’s Indigent Pharmacy is headed by de los Reyes’s daughter and city consultant Johnson Joy de los Reyes-Pagusan, and she is assisted by five job-order workers. The pharmacy duplicates the work at City Health.

Talisay City is the only local government unit in Cebu, or in the country, where members of the family of the chief executive are also working in City Hall and holding key posts.

(atty.ellieE@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 08, 2014.

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