COA probe

Is it true that the Commission on Audit (COA) was dragging its feet on the investigation of the P1.2 billion loan of the Angeles City government?

This despite recent reports that the office of State Auditor IV and Audit Team Leader Grace P. Tan will look into the issues pertaining to the said DBP loan that was intended for the construction of a new P580 million Angeles City Hall and a P360 million Sports Complex, etcetera.

COA should fasttrack investigation of the huge loan that will put the city government on heavy debt servicing. Other public services that needed attention will be relegated to the dustbin of neglect as the city government repay huge debt for several years.

If and when the COA found transgressions in the manner with which the loan was acquired, those who are supporting the construction of the new city hall and the new sports complex will pay for heavily in the electorate this coming May elections. Mayoral bet Alexander Cauguiran has already raised serious technical irregularities allegedly 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.

Cauguiran said “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.”

Cauguiran cited 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.

During the monthly meeting of the Pampanga Press Club at the Park Inn Radission Clark, Vice Mayoral bet Vicky Vega echoes the views of Cauguiran and the minority members of the City Council. There is no need for a new City Hall and a Sports Complex, according to her.

“Imbes na marami po ang matutulungan mababawasan po iyan,” according to Vega citing the heavy debt services because of heavy borrowing. She said that during her time as Vice Mayor, they opposed the construction of a new Sports Complex and succeeded in realigning the funds for the improvement of the Ospital ning Angeles and the City College of Angeles.

Vega said she will continue her programs when she was still Vice Mayor of Angeles City. Among these programs include: Women empowerment, cancer awareness for women, ‘Kabuhayan Patrol’, ‘Brigada Eskuwela’, ‘Sulong Kaalaman’, and ‘Gabay sa Paghimlay.’

Vega is currently leading in the race for vice mayor, based on surveys.

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