IT’S not fair.
This is how Binmaley officials feel about the ruling slapped on the municipality by the Commission on Audit (COA) that local government funds cannot be used for fiesta-related activities
In a talk to newsmen, Vice Mayor Pedro Merrera Jr. asked why the same policy does not appear to apply to LGUs like Dagupan City.
In a follow-up report of The PUNCH, records showed that, indeed, the LGU in Dagupan released three checks to the Dagupan City Fiesta Executive Committee for Calendar Year 2011 and cash of less than half a million pesos, all totalling P7.4 million for fiesta use.
The first check (No. 111169) was released on Dec. 16, 2011 was in the amount of P2 million; another check (No. 111169) released on the same date amounting to P3 million; and a check (No. 111252) on Dec. 22, 2011.
Another financial assistance in the amount of P498,000, presumably in cash, was released with no date specified but was reported as accounts payable.
The checks were reportedly released to Councilors Guillermo Vallejos and Chester Gonzales, as heads of the executive committee.
These unlawful transactions of the city government for the city fiestas reportedly were not cited in City Auditor Ofelia Celi’s annual report.
The COA report, a copy of which was obtained and reported by The PUNCH last week, was sent to Binmaley Mayor Lorenzo Cerezo on March 15, 2012 by Thelma A. Orinion, COA Supervising Auditor.
The report ordered the Binmaley local government to return the P1.5 million used during its 2011 town fiesta charged from the coffers of the town, based on its audit report for 2011. Attached to the report was a letter to Orinion by Criselda Austria, State Auditor IV, Audit Team Leader.
The report stated: “We recommend that the management refrains from using LGU funds for the celebration of town’s fiesta to avoid disallowance in audit”.
Some Binmaley officials have noted that the COA regional office checking on Binmaley and Dagupan annual reports seems to be following a separate sets of audit rules and regulations.
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