Cau­guiran to Ne­po­mu­ceno: ‘Man up’

Sun.Star Pampanga - - FRONT PAGE - BY REY­NALDO G. NAVALES Sun.Star Staff Re­porter

AN­GE­LES CITY— ”The vice-mayor should man up and dis­close all the records and doc­u­ments, in­clud­ing of­fi­cial min­utes of pub­lic hear­ings, res­o­lu­tions and other or­di­nances per­tain­ing to the loan and the ap­pro­pri­a­tion or­di­nance. An­geleños de­serve noth­ing less than full dis­clo­sure, they de­serve to know all the cir­cum­stances.”

Thus said may­oralty bet and Kam­bi­lan of­fi­cial can­di­date Alex Cau­guiran on Mon­day as he urged Vice-Mayor Bryan Ne­po­mu­ceno to pro­duce all records and doc­u­ments re­lated to the city’s P1.2 bil­lion loan, re­fer­ring to the Sang­gu­ni­ang

Pan­glun­sod’s ap­proval last July of a sup­ple­men­tal bud­get funded out of the loan from the De­vel­op­ment Bank of the Philip­pines (DBP).

Cau­guiran wrote Ne­po­mu­ceno last Novem­ber 20 re­quest­ing proofs of the pub­li­ca­tion of the said sup­ple­men­tal bud­get or­di­nance. It was only on Novem­ber 28 when the or­di­nance was pub­lished in a lo­cal daily, Cau­guiran sai d.

“Our re­quest must have prod­ded the vice-mayor to do what is right, and in that way we did him a fa­vor. I am not a lawyer but fail­ure to pub­lish on time is in­ex­cus­able and (it) has tied all par­ties to all trans­ac­tions un­der the sup­ple­men­tal bud­get to a se­ri­ous le­gal bind,” Cau­guiran added.

The bid­ding of the sports com­plex (P360 mil­lion), Cau­guiran ex­plained, along with the new city hall (P580 mil­lion) and the pur­chase of ve­hi­cles and heavy equip­ment “now suf­fer se­ri­ous le­gal in­fir­mity that can no longer be cured ei­ther by mere pub­li­ca­tion or fin­ger­point­ing.”

As pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer and head of the city coun­cil, Ne­po­mu­ceno must an­swer for the con­se­quences of his ac­tion or non-ac­tion,” Cau­guiran added.

The erst­while city hall chief-of-staff added the grav­ity of the bil­lion-peso loan “must not be down­graded to a sim­ple po­lit­i­cal con­tro­versy as this is con­trary to the prin­ci­ples of in­tegrity, trans­parency, and ac­count­abil­ity that pub­lic ser­vants are sworn to up­hold.”

“The eva­sive replies (of the vice-mayor) breed more unan­swered ques­tions, that is what I ob­serve when I dis­cuss the con­tro­ver­sial is­sue with our fel­low An­geleños in var­i­ous barangays. The or­di­nance was pub­lished four months af­ter it was ap­proved and now the doc­u­ments re­lated to the sup­ple­men­tary bud­get or­di­nance are fraught with ex­plo­sive ques­tions that put its va­lid­ity or le­gal­ity in se­ri­ous doubt even af­ter its pub­li­ca­tion,” Cau­guiran sai d.

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 is af­firmed in a num­ber of Supreme Court de­ci­sions, as in the case of Land Bank vs. Ca­cayu­ran, and even in the case of Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Tu­bigon, Bo­hol that the vice mayor had cited,” Cau­guiran sai d.

Records from the Sang­gu­ni­ang Pan­glung­sod show that last Oc­to­ber 25, 2017 the city coun­cil passed Res­o­lu­tion No. 7874, S. 2017, adopt­ing the An­nual In­vest­ment Plan (AIP) and the 20 per­cent De­vel­op­ment Fund for 2018.

On Fe­bru­ary 26, 2018, Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan re­quested Ne­po­mu­ceno for an au­thor­ity to enter into and sign a loan agree­ment with the DBP for var­i­ous items in the to­tal amount of P1.2 bil­lion.

“Were the items listed in the mayor’s let­ter, part of the 2018 In­vest­ment Plan? If not, what was the ba­sis for such re­quest?” Cau­guiran asked.

On March 6, 2018 the coun­cil passed Res­o­lu­tion No. 7973, au­tho­riz­ing Mayor Pamintuan to enter into and sign a loan agree­ment with the DBP for var­i­ous projects. On July 10, 2018, the coun­cil ap­proved Res­o­lu­tion No. 8094 af­firm­ing Lo­cal De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion No. 13, Se­ries 2018 for the AIP Sup­ple­men­tal No. 02 on the term loan with the DBP.

“Ob­vi­ously, the ap­proval of the sup­ple­men­tal AIP came only af­ter the city mayor had been granted au­thor­ity to enter into a loan agree­ment with the DBP. This is putting the cart af­ter the horse which is highly ir­reg­u­lar,” Cau­guiran said.

Cau­guiran also pointed out that on July 25, 2018, the city coun­cil, vice mayor, and the mayor ap­proved Or­di­nance No. 324, Se­ries of 2018, ap­prov­ing and rat­i­fy­ing the terms and con­di­tions of the P1.2 bil­lion loan from the DBP.

“Then two days later, on July 27, even be­fore same or­di­nance could be pub­lished, they ap­proved the sup­ple­men­tary bud­get or­di­nance in the amount of P1.29 bil­lion,” he added.

Sun.Star Pam­panga tried but failed to reach Ne­po­mu­ceno for com­ments at press time.

But ear­lier, Ne­po­mu­ceno said Cau­guiran was gravely mis­taken when he said that the non-pub­li­ca­tion of the or­di­nance ap­prov­ing the P1.29 bil­lion loan makes it il­le­gal.

“Although pub­li­ca­tion of or­di­nances by highly ur­ban­ized cities is pro­vided in the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Code, it does not af­fect the va­lid­ity of the same. This has been es­tab­lished by the Supreme Court in the case of the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Tu­bigon, Bo­hol,” said Ne­po­mu­ceno said.

“More­over, the is­sue has now be­come moot given that the or­di­nances in ques­tion have been pub­lished,” Ne­po­mu­ceno added.

Ne­po­mu­ceno fur­thered: “I am quite sur­prised that Mr. Cau­guiran is now ques­tion­ing the va­lid­ity of or­di­nances based on their pub­li­ca­tion be­cause dur­ing his time in the city coun­cil from 1998-2005, sev­eral or­di­nances were not pub­lished and yet he never ques­tioned their va­lid­ity. It is un­for­tu­nate to note that I ex­pected Mr. Cau­guiran to be more cir­cum­spect with his state­ments. How­ever given that it’s elec­tion sea­son, con­tro­versy sells.”

“As vice-mayor we have taken great strides to im­prove com­pli­ance with the pub­li­ca­tion re­quire­ment for or­di­nances, in­clud­ing those be­fore my time, so as to be in line with the law. It’s just a tem­po­rary halt by the re­lease of funds but we find ways to have them pub­lished nev­er­the­less,” he added.

De­spite all of this, the vice-mayor ad­vised his team and sup­port­ers to push for a clean, hon­est, in­tel­li­gent, and God-fear­ing cam­paign this up­com­ing 2019 elec­tions.

Ne­po­mu­ceno is the may­oral can­di­date of Par­tido Abe Ka­pam­pan­gan and en­dorsed by 2012 Top 8 World Class Mayor Edgardo D. Pamintuan.

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