COA raps Rizal town’s use of Loren, Chiz pork | Inquirer News
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COA raps Rizal town’s use of Loren, Chiz pork

By: - Reporter / @cynchdbINQ
/ 05:47 AM February 19, 2014

The Commission on Audit. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The municipal government of Taytay, Rizal province, came under fire from the Commission on Audit (COA) for its questionable handling of some P10.48 million of pork barrel allocations from Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Loren Legarda and party-list Rep. Julieta Cortuna.

In its audit report released recently, the COA questioned the payments made to private contractors from allocations of the three lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) even with incomplete supporting documents.

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For instance, Taytay paid close to P5 million to a private road contractor out of Legarda’s PDAF despite lack of the necessary documents.

“Review of disbursements for the improvement of various roads in five barangays of the municipality with a total cost of P4,976,853.11 paid to MJP Construction and Development Corp. … showed the claim was paid despite incomplete documentation,” the report said.

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Three private contractors participated in the tender, but Taytay officials failed to submit to the COA eligibility documents to support the bids. The winning bidder, MJP Construction, also did not submit a tax clearance as well as a notarized copy of a certification from the corporate secretary that the signatory to the contract was the duly authorized representative, the COA said.

Worse, the COA was not able to locate the original copy of the contract, the contractor’s affidavit on payment of manpower and materials, abstract of bids, as-built plans, date of notice of award and a certified copy of special allotment release order No. G-11-01018.

The bids and awards committee of Taytay agreed to comply in full with a previous COA audit with respect to the submission of the required documents.

Likewise, the COA questioned the status of the P5.5-million PDAF allocation intended for several projects, which remained unutilized as of the end 2012. The PDAF allotment that expired should revert to the National Treasury, it said.

The Taytay government, responding to COA observations, recently informed state auditors that the P5 million had been used as of the second quarter of 2013 and that construction of the public market had started.

Of the P5.5 million in idle fund, P5 million was sourced from Cortuna’s allotment which was released in October 2012 and earmarked for a livelihood program involving training and distribution of materials for fabric toy-making and soap production.

On the other hand, P500,000 came from Escudero’s PDAF and this was earmarked for the “construction/repair/improvement of public market.”

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“As far as I know, we only gave Taytay P500,000 in 2012 for the repair and rehabilitation of their public market. The funds were downloaded to them as with all cities and municipalities nationwide. I haven’t seen the COA report but will hold to task LGUs to whom we downloaded funds that may not have used it properly,” Escudero said.

Asked for comment, Legarda said on Tuesday night: “If indeed projects were given to the local government, we will hold them accountable and responsible for the effective implementation of such project.”—With a report from Norman Bordadora

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TAGS: Chiz Escudero, COA, Julieta Cortuna, local government, Loren Legarda, Philippines, Pork barrel, Taytay
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