The Commission on Audit (COA) 2020 annual audit report had instructed the Mabalacat City government led by Mayor Cris Garbo and former Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales to return the P92,527,687.52 million pesos allegedly spent on ghost projects.
The ghost projects include the slope protection projects involving the tributaries of Sapang Balen and Quitangil Creek in Mabalacat City.
The infrastructure projects reported by the Morales administration were actually flood-mitigation projects already funded and completed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) PAMPANGA 3RD ENGINEERING.
Garbo has allegedly failed to compel Morales to return the P92 million spent on the non-existent projects at Sapang Balen and Quitangil Creek, according to veteran broadcaster and Mabalacat mayoral candidate Deng Pangilinan.
As early as August 2018, COA had been ordering Garbo and Morales to return the P92,527,687.52 but to no avail. The COA has also denied the appeal of “liable persons” but the Audit Team denied their appeals.
Pangilinan expressed fear of a collusion between incumbent Garbo and Morales over the P92 million missing funds that were allegedly diverted to “non-existent” projects.
“Palage kupu mikasabwatan la. 2018, 2019 at 2020 atin na po reports bakit hindi po sila gumawa ng aksiyon para habulin ang pera. Tax payers money po iyan. Malinaw po nagkaroon po ng sabwatan,” said Pangilinan. (I think there was a collusion. There were already reports in 2018, 2019, and 2020 about the existence of ghost projects but no action had been done to recover the money. It was clear there had been a collusion.)
“Bakit linwal la reng P92 million nukarin la miras? Every year sinasabihan po ng COA ang present administration bakit hindi pa naibalik ang P92 million.” (Where did the P92 million go? Every year, COA had been telling the present administration to return the P92 million but to no avail.)
“That is direct stealing of public money,” said Pangilinan.