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Jagna Bohol Mayor Sued at the Ombudsman
« on: May 03, 2010, 09:24:44 PM »
By Bohol Chronicle

Jagna Mayor Exuperio C. Lloren and four other town officials are facing a complaint of nine counts for violation of R.A. 3019 or the Anti Corrupt and Practices Act and one count for Estafa at the Office  of the Ombudsman Visayas.

Included in the complaint were Vice Mayor Teofisto Pagar, Sr., Zenaida Galorio, municipal accountant, Raymund Emmanuel Cuadra, municipal treasurer and Brigida Aceron, budget officer.

The complaint was filed at the Ombudsman by LP Jagna mayoralty bet Joseph Rañola, a renowned graft buster who authored the book Guide for National Budget Legislation.

Citing selected transactions for CY 2009 under Audit Observation Memorandum No. 2010-001(2009) of the Commission on Audit, Regional Office No. V11, Audit group D-Bohol Local Government Sector dated January 7, 2010, Rañola alleged that the amount of P2,506,029.14 worth of transactions under the first two counts were made "with or lacking supporting documents raising doubts as to the validity, legality and propriety of the payments made and procurement of supplies and materials thru manipulations of respondents without competitive bidding".

He further claimed that the first count covering payments amounting to P1,160,328.83 were "highly questionable and illegal expenses were made, consummated and made possible thru the connivance of the respondents" while the second count showed that the absence of an Annual Procurement Plan(APP) of the concerned departments "resulted to direct purchase/canvass whereby LGU cannot get the price most advantageous to the agency". This "highly irregular scheme of procurements activities" caused "damage or injury to the municipality of Jagna".

The third count showed that payments worth P457,547.20 for catering services and snacks served on meetings and special occasions, seminars, SB cluster meetings, family days activities, department head meetings, entertainment of guests and visitors were also found to be "excessive and unnecessary" and were not "duly supported by appropriations for the purpose". Rañola lamented that these "expenses could have been minimized to ensure that government funds are spent only on necessary and important expenses which are beneficial to the constituents".
         
When contacted for comments, Lloren said he will issue his answer next week.

Using as basis COA's Audit Group analysis Rañola exposed that gasoline loaded to vehicles for certain travels to Tagbilaran City "appeared to be excessive". Estimated gas consumption to the city including travel within the city and back was 15 liters.

However, close examinations of selected vehicle trip tickets were found to be loaded 30-46 liters per trips on successive days which were found by the audit team to be unreasonable.

Furthermore, Rañola decried the blatant violations of EO 248 and COA Circular No. 96-004 on Liquidation of Cash Advances allegedly committed by Mayor Lloren and other "persons who are not even employees of Jagna LGU, such as Nimfa Lloren, wife of the Mayor". The Mayor "did not take actions to settle this cash advances", Rañola added.

The alleged unliquidated cash advances totaled P1,612,834.17 included intelligence and confidential funds of the Mayor. Ranola further stated that demand letters from COA were ignored even as additional cash advances were granted without liquidation of past accounts.

Based on the Audit Observation Memorandum addressed to Mayor Lloren, the Bohol Audit Group D reported that some projects funded from the 20% development fund to the tune of P1,854,727.46 "were not used in accordance with the guidelines" on fund utilization and were found not supportive of the socio-economic and environmental development of the municipality.

Mentioned projects were maintenance of buildings and heavy equipment, construction of a kitchen for the Rural Health unit and DA building, agri production and a program for early child development.

The Liberal mayoralty bet also charged Mayor Lloren and his Vice Mayor in connivance with the Municipal accountant, treasurer and Budget officer of "diversion of funds" for using part of the town's IRA to pay the loan for the construction of the Jagna Public Market amounting to P7,532,448.20 annually. This hampered the implementation of development projects that would redound to the benefit of Jagna's less privileged sector, Ranola added.

Also included in the nine count complaint for "misuse of funds" were expenses in the amount of P277,477.78 intended for cash and in kind assistance to individual/family in crisis situation. Deviations from the DSWD program guidelines were also noted.

Mayor Lloren and Vice Mayor Pagar were singled out by Ranola for "bad faith" in the non-appropriation of funding for peace and order in the budget resulting in the unliquidated cash advances of P1,100,000 purportedly for intelligence fund.

Based on the Audit Observation Memorandum the non-inclusion of peace and order in the budget is a common practice of the LGU to "evade the base of the Intelligence and Confidential funds from which they will peg their budget," Rañola said.

Meanwhile, the additional complaint for Estafa in connection with the construction of the Jagna Public Market was also filed in the interest of transparency.

The Audit Observation Memorandum dated January 7, 2010 was signed by Alegria Lapura, audit team Leader and Marcelita Sarmiento, supervising auditor.

Rañola of the Liberal Party and Fortunato Abrenilla of Lakas/Kampi are contesting the mayoralty while Mayor Lloren who will end his three terms is now the running mate of Abrenilla.

Lloren's wife, Nimfa Abaya Lloren, is running for municipal kagawad under the Lakas/Kampi.

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