Ombud to look into Capitol’s P29 M calamity fund use

Posted on September 5, 2012

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THE Ombudsman-Visayas said yesterday he will look into the Cebu provincial government’s release of P29 million calamity funds to areas outside of Cebu.

“We will look into the legality of the allocation. I won’t tell you whether it is all right or not so as not to preempt the outcome of the probe,” Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol told reporters.

He said the inquiry will focus on the criminal aspect of the issue based on documents and other evidence.

The Commission on Audit had earlier raised the issue, asking the Provincial Board to show whether authority had been granted for the outlays of calamaity aid to various provinces.

The PB secretary said these were not taken up in the session.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the P29 million is already part of the P87 million calamity fund of the province.

She said based on a Supreme Court ruling no prior approval from the Provincial Board is needed since the appropriations ordinance itself is already deemed as securing PB authority.

Garcia said COA earlier required the province to seek PB approval before using the P29 million.

In an exit conference with auditors, Garcia said she explained to the auditors that the P29 million is part of the P87 million calamity fund mandated under the Local Government Code.

Five percent of the revenues should be set aside as calamity funds to be used both within and outside the province. Garcia said the COA-7 agreed with her explanation. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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