“DISGRACEFUL and scandalous.”
That was how Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia called the Capitol’s release of P40 million for a beautification program that benefited Liberal Party allies in her district, Cebu’s third.
“It is disgraceful and scandalous that at this time, when severe drought is hitting our barangays and towns, millions are being spent on ‘beautification’ instead,” said the former governor.
That, as One Cebu lawyers will file complaints for an election offense against the provincial accountant, the provincial treasurer, and Gov. Hilario Davide III for the millions that Capitol released for the clean and green or beautification project called “Gasa sa Kabarangayan.”
Gwen also pointed out that there are 230 barangays, six towns and one city in the third district and yet, only two towns and 26 barangays were named recipients of the Capitol’s program.
“Why only a few?” she asked, citing that the Capitol gave “so much for so little.”
The congresswoman pointed out that at this time of severe drought when crops are dying, what the barangays need is water or irrigation for their parched lands, and not “beautification.”
“We will have to obtain an official copy of the complaint before we can comment since it involves intricate legal issues,” Ethel Natera, Capitol PIO, said in a text message to Sun.Star Cebu.
One Cebu lawyers earlier announced they will file complaints against those involved in the release of a huge amount of public funds for a program that they alleged was meant for vote-buying.
The party is demanding Capitol to make a full accounting of at least P40 million released to Liberal Party-allied mayors and barangay captains.
One Cebu president Winston Garcia said the distribution of the amount to LP’s allies is “an act of desperation” on the part of Davide.
“They are so concerned with beautification, when people are hungry because of the drought. That is pure waste of public funds and an act of desperation, thinking that his only way to win is to buy votes,” said Winston.
Lawyer Victor Maambong, former Provincial Board (PB) member who is running for PB under the PDP-Laban banner, also warned the treasurers and accountants.
“They should be very careful and not allow themselves to be used. The timing of the release of that amount is doubtful, as well as the purpose,” said Maambong.
Of the P1 million given to each recipient-barangay, only P250,000 was allegedly used to pay street cleaners for two days of work, while the P750,000 was returned to a Capitol official.
Earlier, One Cebu asked the Commission on Audit, through a letter, to investigate the transactions.
Davide said that the amount was released after the local government units sent requests, but Pinamungajan Mayor Glenn Baricuatro, Asturias Mayor Alan Adlawan and Aloguinsan Vice Mayor Cesar Augustus Moreno said only LP-allied barangays received the amount. Requests for important projects from other barangays were ignored by Capitol.
Aside from the complaint for election offense, an administrative complaint is also being prepared for filing at the anti-graft office. (PR)