Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Public funds for nose-repair?

Taxpayer’s money, amounting to P778,000.00 have been illegally disbursed by the Dumaguete city government for private purposes.
Illegal private-purpose spending included a P20,000.00 nose-repair for a city government employee’s daughter; another P10,0000.00 was spent for executive check-up; another for plane fare to Manila for an individual for his interview in the U.S. embassy; still another to purchase a hearing aid.
These were just some of the illegal disbursements by the city government uncovered by the commission on audit in its report for 2007.

COA’s slams city

The Commission on Audit has slammed the city government’s blatant illegal use of taxpayer’s money for the benefit purely of private individuals.
This unlawful, criminal practice runs afoul to the basic rule that public funds should not be used for private purposes.
This is a specific limitation by the constitution on the use of public money only for public purpose.
The COA also cites Presidential Decree 1445 or the State Auditing Code.
This law mandates that: "Government funds or property shall be spent or used solely for public purposes"
But the commission on audit is aghast when peoples’ money have been “donated” to private individuals ranging from P10,000 to P20,000 each.
The disbursements have been labeled as “financial assistance” for hospitalization, medical, burial, transportation, expenses, and private affairs.
Spending peoples' money on such private purposes strongly reflects a corrupt and crooked culture of chronic political patronage perpetrated by the city government.
Read: Malversation

Interesting ‘private-purpose’ expenses

Bubble Gang. The COA has reported that the city government anomalously spent P40,000.00 for travel and transportation expenses of the cast and crew of a television program “Bubble Gang” while shooting in Dumaguete City.
The COA’s says this t.v. activity is purely private, not being an activity or program of the city government.
Nose repair. What was eye-catching was the release by the city government of a DBP check no. 23902891 amounting to P20,000.00 paid to one Gilbert Ablong, a city traffic employee, as “financial assistance” for “bone grafting/repair of daughter’s nose”
How does the city government justify this as “public purpose”?
I have heard of public funds used for "road-repair", but not for "nose-repair".
I don't think nose-repair would constitute "public works" so as to justify the use of public funds. What do you think?
U.S. embassy interview. Another financial assistance was to one Dexter P. Noblefranca, for his “plane fare to Manila for interview at the U.S. embassy.” It was charged by the city government as “extra-ordinary expenses”.
The COA said this is not public purpose.
Father’s fare. Another DBP check no. 23903192 amounting to P7,136 was disbursed as financial assistance to transport Rolando Capuyo, a father, to his son's awarding as finalist in the ten outstanding students of the Philippines, charged as “extra ordinary expenses”.
This is not public purpose, says the COA.
Hearing aid. Another DBP check no. 23902570 amounting to P11,000.00 was paid to one Matilda D. Torres as financial assistance to purchase a hearing aid. Not public purpose, says the COA.
Money to Lion’s Club. COA reports a lion's share of peoples' money went to a private entity, the Dumaguete Lion's Club. A DBP check no. 25717252 amounting to P100,000.00 was paid to the Dumaguete Lion’s Club, purportedly for the NegOr. Rehabilitation center.
The COA said the money should not have been given to Lion’s club being a private entity, but direct to the rehab center.

COA summary of private-purpose expenses

The COA has summarized the city government's anomalous disbursements for private purposes using public funds.
Hospitalization and medical expenses P508,596.00
Burial expenses amounted to P81,000.00
Transportation expenses of persons attending conventions, tournaments, etc., P189,142.00
The total amount of public funds spent by the city in 2007 for private purposes was P778,738.20.

Analyzing the disbursements

An analysis of the city's illegal disbursements gives rise to stark revelations.
First, based on the COA report and table, a majority of the recepients of medical, hospitalization, burial, assistance are themselves city government employees, officials, barangay officials, and their relatives (Love your own...political supporters?).
Being employees, they cannot be classified as indigents.
The DSWD has a program where the government gives direct financial assistance to indigents. But the limit is only P2,000 per beneficiary, and definitely only for indigents.


Second observation: 85% of the financial assitance or "donations" extended by the city were made just prior to, or on the month of a signficiant political event---the elections.
The COA table-schedule shows the date the "donations" were extended.
After the elections, the COA list/table of beneficiaries of medical, hospitalization assistance dramatically dropped.
If P580,000.00 were disbursed as "donations" in 2007 by the city for medical, hospitalization assistance, around P500,000 of the donations---or almost 90%---were made prior to, or on the month of the 2007 elections.

Below are three tables presented by the COA listing down how the peoples' money have been illegally spent for private purposes. (To enlarge the table, point the mouse-curser to the table and click the left button)


Giggles said...

Hi, Jay, I am an avid reader of your blog and The Negros Chronicle, too. Both so informative. I live in the West Coast and I always look forward to read the current events. I like the new format and kudos to Rhardoz. The print (COA audit) is fine but I can read the auditor's name: Sylvia (Marino) Almazan, a schoolmate (Yes, that's how old I am.) I also like how you are training your Little Scribe to be a future journalist.

Thanks for sharing!

Jay Dejaresco said...

Thank you.
Your kind words make writing all the more worthwhile.
To enlarge the table, or any image, point the curser of your mouse on the image and click the left button.
Thanks again...