FORMER Baguio City mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. cried foul over news reports circulating that he is liable for P63 million illegal perks as cited by the Commission on Audit (COA).
Bautista said the COA cases have long been answered and he has been cleared when he exited from government service, musing the move may be political as he is now seeking the lone congressional spot for the city.
In the online report, Bautista and then officials city accountant Antonio Tabin with city council members Rocky Tomas Balisong, Daniel Fariñas, Betty Lourdes Tabanda, Perlita Chan Rondez, Nicasio Aliping Jr, Antonio Tabora Jr, Erdolfo Balajadia, Nicasio Palaganas, Isabelo Cosalan Jr, Richard Cariño, Fred Bagbagen, Elaine Sembrano, Joel Alangsab, Gloria Isabel de Vera, and Galo Weygan were found liable for granting P63.72 million in unauthorized allowances to city officials and employees in 2008 and 2009.
Bautista said he has not received an official copy of the COA report and maintains the release of funds went through government process.
The former mayor added, at that time, the city was recovering from meningococcemia health scare and the destruction brought by Typhoon Pepeng.
“It was done for the concern and welfare of employees, discussed by a finance committee and approved by the city council,” Bautista clarified.
The online news item said COA released a decision last week and officials liable are required to return the amount to Baguio City’s treasury.
Bautista said city hall has already replied to the matter and will continue to reply if needed as it is part of city matters.
The former city official added the online news report also muddled issues by citing two separate cases: the COLA issuance and the salary standardization case which has also been settled. Bautista is the publisher of SunStar Baguio.