THE multi-awarded treasurer of Toledo City Government in southwestern Cebu has been relieved from his post amid controversies surrounding discrepancies in the City’s Bid and Awards Committee (BAC).
Leonardo Rivera Jr., who has been in the office since 2013 was relieved and transferred to the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) 7 effective Jan. 15, 2024.
Rivera received the order last Jan. 11 from the Finance Department, telling him to perform functions in treasury operations and other tasks assigned to him by the BLGF 7 director.
Rivera told SunStar Cebu on Friday, Jan. 19, that the transfer must be related to a criminal complaint for alleged violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as well as grave abuse of authority, dishonesty, gross misconduct and gross neglect of duty filed by him against 20 members of the BAC and some suppliers last year.
“I already received a copy from the Office of the Ombudsman requiring them to answer the cases I filed,” Rivera said.
“I just did not expect that the mayor (City Mayor Marjorie Perales) will intervene and side with them. Anyway, all I can say is that they cannot put a good man down,” he added.
Accusations vs. Rivera
Before his transfer, Rivera was alleged to be involved in “double dealings” with suppliers, asking for his own share aside from the share allegedly given to the Mayor.
A complaint by a John Doe against Rivera also claimed that Perales was overspending on local and foreign trips for events such as fiestas and Christmas even at a time when the country was in crisis.
The complaint also cited cases of “ghost employees” at the City Hall and medicine purchase discrepancies that do not match the inventories, movement of personnel for political preference and personnel found positive for drugs but were inappropriately or not acted upon.
SunStar Cebu tried to reach Perales for comment through her Public Information Office (PIO) on Friday; however, the official had yet to reply to our queries.
Rivera was replaced by Felicitas Baguio, assistant treasurer of Lapu-Lapu City as officer-in-charge.
During his time as treasurer, Rivera brought Toledo City to Top 1 in the Philippines for year-on-year growth of locally sourced revenues among cities. Toledo was also in the Top 10 for collection efficiency accomplishing way above the City’s annual targets.
He also received two certifications from the Revenue Generation Program and Treasury Operations of BLGF-DOF-7 for surpassing the LGU collection targets for FY 2020 with a rating of 239.53 percent for real property tax and 108.81 percent for business tax.
He was also named Inspiring Treasurer and 1st Runner-up in the 2020 Search for the Most Inspiring Treasurer and Assessor in Central Visayas amid the Covid-19 pandemic.