Camarines Sur Gov Villafuerte fires back, says Sec Robredo twisted facts
CAMARINES SUR – CAMARINES Sur Gov. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte yesterday fired back at Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, saying the secretary twisted facts on the supposed graft cases that the governor is facing.
Villafuerte sent a statement to Inquirer in response to a July 8, 2011, report that quoted Robredo as saying his department is coordinating with the Commission on Audit (COA) on the graft cases against Villafuerte.
“He (Robredo) made it appear that the COA found proof of wrongdoing when in fact, the items referred to were just ‘observations’ in the 2009 COA audit report, and these were already corrected and settled with the COA by the provincial government,” Villafuerte said in his statement.
The governor called Robredo an “irresponsible publicity hound.”
He said Robredo, being a former local chief executive, knows fully well that “observations” in a COA audit report do not imply wrongdoing. Robredo, he said, was the subject of similar observations in a 2009 COA report when the secretary was still Naga City mayor.
Villafuerte said the 2009 COA report listed these observations in Naga under Robredo: the correctness, validity and existence of Naga’s assets could not be ascertained; cash advances of almost P1 million were made without accounting of previous advances; and cash advances worth P5 million were not liquidated within the required period.
“Does this mean that Secretary Robredo, when he was still Naga City mayor, committed wrongdoing or engaged in corruption?” Villafuerte said. “I don’t think so and I am sure he will agree with me.”
“Why then is he citing similar observations in the 2009 COA audit report on Camarines Sur as a basis for pursuing alleged corruption complaints against me?” the governor said.
The governor also deplored Robredo’s omissions of the following—only nine, not 11, complaints were filed against Villafuerte and six of these have been dismissed; three of the pending cases have nothing to do with corrupt practices and one involved the dismissal of a casual employee; and all of the cases were filed by a single person, a former provincial board member.
The governor said Robredo could have resented a case that the governor filed questioning at the Supreme Court the constitutionality of two memorandum circulars issued by the secretary.
One of the circulars prohibits local government units from using Internal Revenue Allotment funds meant for development projects for maintenance and other operating expenses.
“I wonder why Secretary Robredo seems to be ‘fixated’ with how the province of Camarines Sur is being run,” said Villafuerte.
“As DILG secretary, he should focus on more important problems such as lowering the country’s crime rate.”
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