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SRP manager Varquez to speak up next week

/ 07:02 AM December 06, 2013

ROBERTO “Bu” Varquez, manager of the South Road Properties (SRP), said he would attend next week’s executive session of the Cebu City Council to answer questions about the fees being collected in the Kasadaya s SRP.

He skipped the invitation to appear this week, saying he was advised by city administrator Jose Marie Poblete that it was no longer necessary as the complaint against him was withdrawn.

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Trader Leonardo Noel Jr., in a letter to the City Council this week, said he would no longer pursue his Nov. 19 complaint of extortion.

He said the P200,000 he paid last year as “registration fee” was already returned to his employer, Feliza Abayata, owner of Lecian Carnival, since “it is not necessary and it is not a requirement for the Kasadya sa SRP.”

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“Where did the money go? Why was it returned after one year?” asked Councilor James Cuenco after the letter was read aloud.

In his letter, Noel said the matter was already clarified regarding the payment of P50,000 per ride that was asked from the carnival owner.

He said the amount would not be paid in cash but had to be spent on “professionalizing the operation of our rides like rehabilitation and repainting, uniform and IDs of the operators, light and power.”

Noel and Varquez will be invited again by the City Council after both didn’t show up for an executive session for them this week.

Last November 19, Noel wrote Mayor Michael Rama to accuse Varquez of extortion.

The mayor was given a copy of an unofficial receipt for the P200,000 paid by the carnival operator last year.

The receipt was the ordinary kind sold in office supply stores.

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City government transactions are supposed to use accountable forms with receipts duly registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Receipt no. 001 issued on November 13, 2012 by Anabel Zapanta describes the P200,000 as payment for “Kasadya sa SRP registration fee” for the duration of the carnival from Dec.7, 2012 to February 24, 2013.

Another acknowledgment receipt was issued by Zapanta on Nov. 13, 2012 stating that the P200,000 was “partial payment” of Abayata for carnival operations from Dec. 1, 2012 to Jan. 30, 2013.

Noel wrote the council that he could not attend the executive session this week “because I am busy attending to the documents of carnival rides that arrived from Manila for the Kasadya sa SRP.”

His letter was received at 8:55 a.m. Wednesday. Before noon, another letter from Noel reached the mayor’s office saying he was withdrawing his complaint against Varquez.

Councilors agreed to invite both parties again next week.

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