ANGELES City mayoralty bet Alex Cauguiran said the Commission on Audit (COA) will probe the propriety of the transactions of the city government involving the transactions funded out of the P1.2-billion loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
“I have received,” the Kambilan official candidate said, “the official letter from COA dated March 12, 2019, signed by State Auditor IV and Audit Team Leader Grace P. Tan that her office will look into the issues that my party mates and I have raised in our letter dated February 24, 2019. In that letter we had raised serious technical irregularities primarily caused by Vice Mayor Bryan Nepomuceno’s failure to cause the publication of enabling ordinances prior to the use of hundreds of millions of public funds.”
“It is our position,” Cauguiran said, “that the city government, had no authority either to accept or open the bids for the construction of the new city hall (P580 million) and the sports complex (P360 million), and or to consummate the purchase of heavy equipment and motor vehicles without the existence of effective enabling ordinances.”
Section 59 (d) of the Local Government Code of 1991 provides that for an ordinance of a highly urbanized city, like Angeles City, to be effective, it must be published at least once in local or national newspaper of general circulation.
“In this case, the bidding process, from the acceptance up to the opening of the bids, was made before the appropriation ordinance, and the ordinance for the approval and ratification of the terms and conditions of the DBP loans were published. Without effective ordinances in place – the bidding had no legal legs to stand on and is therefore invalid,” Cauguiran said.
“Aside from the COA investigation,” Cauguiran said, “Nepomuceno as head of the legislative body that holds the power of the city’s purse, has to reckon with two other equally important issues. He has to explain to the people of Angeles City why funding for non-essential projects out of borrowed money was given priority over the expansion of the Ospital ning Angeles (ONA) and the City College of Angeles (CCA). It appears that there was lack of public consultation prior to the passage of ordinance.”
“Another equally important question,” Cauguiran asked, “is why he (Nepomuceno) has allowed the passage of an ordinance for the city to incur an enormous debt payable for 15 years, less than a year before the local elections. The moral thing to do was to give the new set of elected officials to come up with their own medium term development plan to be funded, if they so decide, from borrowing.”
“With a total outstanding debt of P2.3 billion, each voter in Angeles City is now indebted of P11,500. In the end, it is the voters and taxpayers of the city who will be paying for all the debts that the city government has incurred. What is so sad is they were never consulted about it,” Cauguiran said. (PR)