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Samar gov faces non-transparency complaint

By: - Correspondent / @joeygabietaINQ
/ 05:19 AM April 18, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY – An anti-corruption group has filed a complaint against Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan-de los Santos for violating a memorandum that requires local officials to disclose budgets, finances and other transactions.

The Multi-Sectoral Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA) also alleged that the governor violated the policy that prohibited government officials from placing their names and pictures on government projects and programs.

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But Delos Santos brushed aside the complaint filed by MATA at the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas.

“I haven’t seen the complaint. But I will not be bothered by it. It is just another ploy by some individuals who have nothing to do in life except to try to distract me [from my work as governor],” De los Santos told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Saturday.

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In a two-page complaint, MATA said De los Santos violated Memorandum Circular 2010-83 when she failed to disclose the finances, budgets and financial transactions of the Samar provincial government.

The watchdog also claimed that the government violated Memorandum Circular 2010-101 when her picture and name were plastered in several government projects and programs.

Memorandum Circular 2010-83 refers to the full disclosure of local budgets and finances as well as bids and public offerings.

Memorandum Circular 2010-101, on the other hand, bans government officials and employees from placing their names and pictures on government projects.

Both memoranda were issued by Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Also named in the complaint were Provincial Budget Officer Maximo Sison; Provincial Accountant Antonio Verzosa and Provincial Treasurer Bienvinido Sabenecio.

Imelda Bonifacio, president of MATA which is composed of six non-government organizations, said they were compelled to file the complaint against De los Santos for allegedly disregarding the policy of transparency.

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“We have written her several times for her to observe transparency on all the transactions entered by her [administration],” Bonifacio said on Tuesday.

Among the documents that the governor reportedly failed to publicly disclose were the annual provincial budget, statements of receipts and expenditures, quarterly statement of cash flows, annual procurement plan of procurement list and items to bids, among others.

Bonifacio said the provincial government had “failed to post and publish all of the above financial documents, as required.”

“We have to know all the transactions entered by the provincial government and not to wait for a report from the Commission on Audit for any possible irregularities of their transactions,” Bonifacio said.

But all their requests were turned down.

Bonifacio said billboards that bore the face and name of De los Santos could be seen “practically all over the province.”

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