Pablo John: Ordinance allows funding of projects
THE Davide administration’s continuing refusal to pay the P607 million worth of contracts of infrastructure projects stemmed from its “misunderstanding of the law,” a former congressman said last week.
Pablo John Garcia, younger brother of former governor and now Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu’s 3rd district, said the contracts don’t need ratification from the Cebu Provincial Board (PB).
He said the Local Government Code only requires “prior authorization” which in the case of the contracts was already granted with the PB’s approval of the Appropriations Ordinance.
Garcia said the ordinance details the province’s budget allocations for its annual projects.
He cites as an example the purchase of supplies like ballpens which are covered by purchase orders.
“A purchase order is a form of a contract. Have we heard that the Capitol every time it buys a ballpen asks for approval from the PB? That is not the case,” Garcia told reporters at the Capitol grounds last Friday.
The P607-million worth of contracts in infrastructure projects were pursued by former governor Garcia during her nine-year administration.
“You no longer go back to the PB because it has already given prior authorization through the budget approved for the whole year. The Appropriations Ordinance itself is equivalent to authorization,” he said.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III refused to pay the 30 contractors of various infrastructure projects, saying the projects lack approval from the PB and paying them would be tantamount to “condoning an illegal act.”
If the contractors file case in court against the Cebu provincial government, Davide said they will be forced to file a third party complaint against
Gwen who entered into the contracts when she was Provincial Governor.
But Garcia questioned the possible complaint against her older sister, now serving her first term in Congress as representative of the third district.
“They say they want Gwen to pay the contracts, assuming she can pay for everything, what will we do with the roads and the hospital? We will now own that? It’s just simple logic,” he said.
“Why would you ask Gwen to pay for that when it is being used by the public, the hospitals, roads, that is an asset of the provincial government,” he added.
“The lawsuits against my sister, that is nothing new anymore. They’ve filed all kinds of cases against my sister. But you know it’s a question of misunderstanding of what the law provides,” Garcia said.
The PB through budget and appropriations committee chairperson Grecilda “Gigi” Sanchez repeatedly asked government auditors from the Commission on Audit (COA) to shed light on the “unratified contracts.”
But COA said the local government unit (LGU) is in charge of all their pre-audit activities. Garcia was at the Capitol last Friday as lawyer for Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia, his brother.
Mayor Garcia faces an administrative complaint filed by Dumanjug Vice Mayor Guntrano Gica. It was also his first appearance at the Capitol following his loss in the May 2013 elections against Davide.
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