Friday, February 27, 2015

Sergio asks COA to probe City Hall

NAGA CITY—Councilor Nathan Sergio is ready for whatever repercussions his exposes on alleged anomalies may bring, even if these mean a showdown with his former political allies.

Councilor Nathan Sergio asks COA to probe Naga City Hall
Councilor Nathan Sergio asks COA to probe Naga City Hall
Sergio on Monday told BICOL STANDARD that he sent a new letter to the Commission on Audit reiterating his previous request for special audit or investigation of the city government’s alleged failure to turnover more than 300 disbursement vouchers to the local COA office.
In a previous letter dated January 15, 2015 furnished to BICOL STANDARD, Sergio urged the agency to probe the “unsubmitted/missing documents of LGU Naga City (Bicol), which documents pertain to expenditures totalling  about P159,000,000.00. These unsubmitted/missing documents consist of three hundred eighty seven (387) Disbursement Vouchers and five (5) Payrolls, amounting to P151,600,894.57 and P7,405,853.70, respectively. The vouchers cover the period November 2012 up to April 2013, while the payrolls cover the month of March 2013 only.  Needless to say, these expenditures were made during the months leading to the May 2013 election.”
In 2007, Sergio ran for councilor under the same party as Mayor John Bongat, with whom, he said, his relationship appears to have soured since he started started pushing for transparency.

Overdue

The turnover of the vouchers, Sergio said in his letter to the Heidi L. Mendoza, Officer-In-Charge of COA, had been overdue for around a year and a half.
He wrote: “Notices of Suspension were issued by the Local COA on June 30, 2014, however, City Hall did not comply within the 90-day reglementary period which ended on September 30, 2014; but, lo and behold, no Notice of Disallowance was ever issued by Local COA.  Actual submission of vouchers by the City happened only on December 23, 2014 (for the first batch of documents) and subsequent submissions on January 9, 12 and 15, 2015 for the second up to fifth batches of documents, for which the City was issued Notices of Settlement.”
He further explained: “The submission of documents happened only after I wrote the City Auditor on December 22, 2014, inquiring about the status of the “missing/unremitted disbursement vouchers and payrolls” mentioned in the 2013 Annual Audit Report. To date, ten vouchers have yet to the submitted to COA, for which a Notice of Disallowance was issued. This is highly irregular. This is anomalous.”

First time

Sergio lamented that it was the first time that such alleged anomaly happened in the City Hall.
“I have been working in the City Government of Naga since May 1989. I am profoundly disturbed by these unsubmitted/missing 387 vouchers and 5 payrolls. To me, this is not transparency and therefore, not exactly good governance, which we have collectively worked hard to achieve over the years.”
Sergio, who was a student leader and Youth Mayor prior to being elected as City Councilor, added in his letter to COA: “Looking into this expeditiously is a great service for the people of Naga City, home of the late Raul Roco, Jesse Robredo, Tomas Arejola and many other great people.”
The councilor, it would be recalled, bared the so-called anomalies during a privilege speech on January 27, 2015.
Earlier this month, Sergio was replaced as the program director of the Naga City Blood Council, supposedly because he no longer enjoys Mayor John Bongat’s confidence.
Bongat, for his part, denied that the replacement was politically-motivated. He maintained that Sergio’s failure to coordinate with him on the program was what prompted him to unseat Sergio as Blood Council director.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM
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