NAGA CITY— Cracks are beginning to show in the once-solid political alliance of the members of the Liberal Party here.
Tension in recent months has been brewing between Mayor John Bongat and Councilor David Casper Nathan A. Sergio over alleged irregularities in the city administrative affairs.
In the latest development, Bongat unseated Sergio as the program director of the Naga City Blood Council.
Sergio, in an interview over radio station BBS-DWLV, said that it could have only been their political differences that prompted the local chief executive to unceremoniously replace him as head of the program that was borne out of an ordinance he himself authored in 2009.
He was replaced with Grace Guevarra, Medical Technologist of the City Health Office.
The councilor admitted that he was initially confused by the sudden shift in sentiment.
The blood program, he said, had been doing very well, even going as far as winning the National Sandugo Award three times.
“Mayo man ibang naglalaog sa pag-isip ko, [kundi] ining mga pagtuyaw ko,” Sergio said.
Since last year, he had been criticizing the city government for its decision to demolish the buildings at the lot where the Naga City Police Office used to stand.
There was no legal basis, he maintained, for the city hall to occupy the area.
Meanwhile, on the January 27 Regular Session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the councilor delivered a privilege speech in which he declared that the city government failed to submit 387 disbursement vouchers and 5 payrolls for audit in 2013.
Quoting the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA) Year-End Report 2013, he said: “Three hundred eighty seven (387) disbursement vouchers covering the period from November 2012 to April 2013 with a total amount of P151,600,894.57 and five (5) payrolls for March 2013 in the total amount of P7,405,853.70 were not submitted for audit, in violation of Section 122 of PD 1445, Section 347 of RA 7160 and Section 7, 8 & 9 of COA Circular No. 94-001, thus, preventing the Audit Team from conducting review and verification of the transactions.”
“Good governance baga an satong ‘mantra’ sa City Hall,” he reminded the Sanggunian as he rebuked the pretentious claim of transparency in the face of anomalies.
“Diyan sa Transparency Board, sa baba (kan City Hall), may pamalo-malo na posting kan Report; bukliton mo, ta cover page lang, daeng laman,” his speech went.
“Nawawara an mga nasambit na importanteng dokumentos. Ano an rason? Dae man po nasulo an City Hall, kausa na magin abo su mga dokumentos. Dae man po kita tinamaan nin makusogon na bagyo, kausa na matuklap an atop kan City Hall asin iralayog pasiring sa kalangitan su mga dokumentos. Clearly, there was no natural and man-made calamity to blame. Were those documents selectively looted? Who could be interested in them? There was no police report on this. Maybe, and just maybe, a different kind of rat chose to consume them all,” he added.
The councilor has since requested the COA National Office to launch an official investigation on the issue.
Lack of confidence
Mayor Bongat, for his part, said that the reason Sergio was replaced was his “lack of confidence” in the councilor.
Sergio, according to the mayor, would fail to coordinate with him on the program.
Bongat stressed that it was his prerogative to select the head of the blood council, and that he should be given a chance to prove that the decision was not motivated by political reasons.
Sergio said that regardless of the new setup, he would still donate blood as he had been doing so in previous years.
Despite the fact that he and Bongat were once part of the “Ubos Kun Ubos, Gabos Kun Gabos” team, he said he would not hesitate to air his criticisms when justice, transparency, and good governance demand them.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM