THE Cebu City budget office defended the mayor’s use of funds intended for the Association of Barangay Council to purchase fuel.
The beneficiary of the fuel expenses is the same, said Marieta Gumia, assistant budget officer.
She said the money taken from the P5-million financial assistance to the ABC was used to buy fuel for barangay vehicles.
“It’s still aid to barangays. It was used within the same office , so it’s aboveboard,” said Gumia who spoke in behalf of Budget Officer Nelfa Briones who is on leave.
She said the city mayor has the authority to “augment funds provided the augmentation is for the same purpose as the original allocation.”
Last Monday, the ABC passed a resolution authorizing its president Michael Ralota, barangay captain of T. Padilla to file a complaint against Mayor Michael Rama before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas for abuse of authority, usurpation of authority, conduct unbecoming of a government official and technical malversation.
The ABC complained that instead of releasing the ABC’s P5-million financial assistance, the mayor spent P4.5 million to buy fuel.
It took the ABC until last week to seek the release of their annual financial aid as there were delays in the liquidation of their 2011 allocation.
Ralota said they submitted the liquidation of the 2011 financial aid to the ABC and tried to work for the release of the 2012 budget when they were surprised to learn that only half million pesos was left.
Mayor Rama said ABC had no legal basis to charge him./Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac