UNA questions Duterte’s crusade vs crime, tags mayor in funds misuse
Is Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte guilty of technical malversation of public funds?
Citing an annual audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA), the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Friday said there were anomalies committed during Duterte’s administration as Davao City mayor.
“If he really were tough on crime and corruption as he projects himself to be, why were there anomalies committed under his watch?” UNA spokesperson Mon Ilagan said in a statement on Friday.
Duterte, who is running on a platform of eradicating crime, corruption and illegal drugs use, is facing UNA’s Jejomar Binay among others for the presidency in the May 9 elections.
Ilagan said Duterte may be liable for the misuse of the P46-million Special Education Fund in 2014.
Quoting the COA, UNA said the agency found out that “various expenses charged to the Special Education Fund totaling ₱45,819,774.85 were inconsistent with the provisions of [Republic Act] No. 5447 or the SEF Act”
UNA quoted RA 5447, saying that SEF may only be used ““exclusively” for the following: extension classes for children entering Grade 1, improvement of elementary school facilities, printing or purchase of textbooks and teaching materials, payment of salaries of public school teachers, purchase or repair of vocational and laboratory machinery and equipment, educational research, scholarship grants, and the promotion of physical education.”
But UNA said that according to COA’s audit of disbursement vouchers, “Davao City’s public schools had unauthorized expenses charged to SEF, including plane fares of coaches and students, fuel for various vehicles, insurance premium for vehicles, accident insurance for coaches and students, and grocery items, medical supplies, and payment for electricity, water, and telephone bills.”
UNA, still quoting COA, said misuse of the funds was “to the disadvantage of the public schools students which could have benefited from the intended projects, programs or activities of the funds” and was “thus considered irregular as defined under COA Circular No. 2012-003.”
According to UNA, COA said the expenses should have been charged against the available funds of the Department of Education as the activities and programs were regular functions of the DepEd and not any of these specified for SEF.
“If the funds were misappropriated even though the money supposedly didn’t go to his pocket, as chief executive of Davao City, isn’t the mayor still liable for technical malversation?” Ilagan said
“For someone promising to clean up the entire country within six months, why can’t he ensure the proper use of funds in his city?” Ilagan added.
Ilagan cited Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code, saying that “any public officer who shall apply any public fund or property under his administration to any public use other than that for which such fund or property were appropriated by law or ordinance” may be jailed for six months and fined 50 percent to 100 percent of the amount misused.
He further quoted the law, saying, “the offender shall also suffer the penalty of temporary special disqualification.”
Peter Tiu Laviña, Duterte’s spokesman and media head, told INQUIRER.net that their camp is “checking” the said COA report. IDL
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