The Commission on Audit and the Department of the Interior and Local Government have been asked by members of the provincial board of Negros Occidental to look into the alleged anomalous purchase of more than 5,000 sheep by the provincial government headed by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.
In a letter addressed to Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and COA Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, board members led by Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez Jr. said the transaction entered into by the provincial government and an Australian supplier appeared to be overpriced.
The board said Marañon and the provincial veterinary office bought a total of 5,840 heads of damara sheep from an Australian supplier for about P10,559 per ewe, P12,395 per ram and P18 million in transport cost.
The transaction proceeded despite offers from other Australian suppliers who are selling the sheep at lower costs.
The board’s letter to COA and DILG said “the province could have overpaid the amount of at least P44.3 million.”
It said that while the board supported the project by approving its budget allocation, its members were not parties to negotiations that took place in Australia involving Maranon.
The board said the breed of sheep obtained under the deal was not suited for Philippine conditions. At least 400 sheep were eaten by wild dogs while 1,300 died due to parasites and weather-related diseases.
The provincial government obtained a P100-million loan from Land Bank of the Philippines for the project, helping add to the province’s debt that now stands at P1.5 billion.