Brgy captains to sue Rama for ‘unauthorized’ fund use

Posted on November 27, 2012

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The Association of Barangay Councils of Cebu City wants Mayor Michael Rama investigated for the “unauthorized” use of their share of P5 million in financial assistance from City Hall.

ABC president Michael Ralota said he found out last week that only P500,000 of their P5 million assistance was left after the mayor had the remaining P4.5 million spent for gasoline purchases.

Ralota said the ABC is preapring a complaint against the mayor for abuse of authority, usurpation of authority, conduct unbecoming of a government official and technical malversation which they will file with the Office of the Visayas Ombudsman.

A similar complaint will be filed against department heads who signed the “highly questionable bank transaction.”

“Based on available COA documents, bank statements, summary reports, and the City Treasurer’s records, there may be probable cause or a prima facie case that may be filed against City Mayor Michael L. Rama and other signatories thereof,” said an ABC resolution passed on November 22.

Mayor Rama said he would issue a comment after he looks into the matter with City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete.

In a letter dated Sept. 2, 2012, the mayor authorized Budget Officer Nelfa Briones to use P4.5 million of the P5 million ABC assistance as one of the sources of P10 million needed “to cover expenses for the purchase of gasoline and other motor vehicles assigned to different barangays of this city.”

An attached document showed that charges made to the ABC appropriation started as early as January 2012.

Charges to the ABC funds were made on Jan. 10 – P1.25 million, April 2 – 1.25 million July 2 – P1.25 million and Sept. 6 – P0.75 million.

The ABC resolution said the mayor and other signatories didn’t get prior approval from the ABC Executive Board about using their allotment.

Eight of the 13 board members who signed are barangay captains allied with the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK).

Kamputhaw barangay captain Lorenzo Basamot abstained.

Five other barangay captains allied with Mayor Rama opposed the resolution.

Rallota said in a press conference yesterday that the ABC receives P3 million assistance as year from City Hall.

He requested for an increase in their assistance to P5 million this year.

The ABC’s 2012 assistance remained unused because they had to first liquidate their 2011 assistance.

They also wanted to consult with other barangay captains on how to spend the amount.

Barangay captains agreed during their September 2012 assembly to spend the P5 million assistance to buy spare tires for garbage trucks and other barangay vehicles, as well as a mixer for use in their self-help projects; and a new ABC garbage truck.

Ralota said they finished liquidating the 2011 assistance last week and started to ask about the 2012 allotment.

As a procedure, the ABC has to liquidate the past year’s assistance and sign a MOA with the mayor before they could touch the current year’s allotment.

Accounting records showed that only P500,000 remains unspent. /Doris C. Bongcac, Chief of Reporters

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