P1.29B projects in AC illegal, says Cauguiran

ANGELES CITY mayoralty bet and KAMBILAN official candidate Alex Cauguiran on Wednesday has described the appropriation ordinance providing funds for the P1.29 billion projects as “illegal” because it was not published.

“The publication of any ordinance, more so in this case where more than a billion pesos of public money are to be spent, is a prerequisite to its effectivity,” Cauguiran said.

“Let the public know that all transactions funded under the city government’s 2018 supplementary budget in the amount of P1.29 billion are illegal,” he added.

Cauguiran decried as “monumental blunder” the failure of Vice Mayor Bryan Nepomuceno to publish the city government’s supplemental budget in the amount of P1.29 billion in clear violation of the Local Government Code of 1991.

“In effect, when the city government proceeded to purchase the motor vehicles and heavy equipment and to bid the infrastructure projects listed in the supplemental budget, it did so without any legal basis as the ordinance was not published,” Cauguiran said.

The erstwhile city hall chief-of-staff said that last November 20, he wrote Nepomuceno requesting documented proofs of publication of the supplemental budget ordinance and Ordinance No. 324, s-2018 approving and ratifying the terms and conditions of the approved loan of the Angeles City in the amount of P1,226,800,000, approved on 10 July 2018.

“Why wait four months for the public to know that you approved a billion-peso loan? (The Sangguniang Panglungsod) approved it last July but it was only on November 28 that both ordinances were published in a local daily,” Cauguiran said.

Records from the Sangguniang Panglungsod show that on July 27, 2018, the city council approved Appropriation Ordinance No. 325, S-2018 appropriating Supplemental Budget No. 1, CY 2018 amounting to P1,292,428,714.23. The sources of funds listed in the ordinance included the two term loans from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in the amount of P1,226,800,000.; along with savings and reverted funds of the city government in the amount of P65,628,714.23.

“The blunder has led to a tragic string of errors where transactions involving hundreds of millions of pesos have been set in motion or have been perfected without any legal basis,” the leading mayoralty candidate added.

R.A. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 provides that “in the case of highly urbanized and independent component cities, the main features of the ordinance or resolution duly enacted or adopted shall, in addition to being posted, be published once in a local newspaper of general circulation within the city.

“This requisite has been affirmed by the Supreme Court,” Cauguiran said.

“Notwithstanding the non-publication of the ordinance,” he added, “the city government through its Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) proceeded to conduct the bidding of the design and build contracts for the sports complex in the amount of P360 million on September 25, 2018, and that of the new city hall in the amount of P580 million on November 13, 2018.”

“We have also received reports that the mini garbage trucks for the barangays have been delivered,” Cauguiran disclosed.