Chan: I’m ready to beg and kneel to dads for OK of P236M aid to Odette victims
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines — Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan expressed his readiness to beg and kneel to each of the eight opposition city councilors for approval and release of the P236 million financial assistance to typhoon Odette-affected residents.
On December 20, 2021, the city council has approved the disbursement of the budget to typhoon-stricken families, which will be released through the barangays.
However, on December 23, 2021, the mayor vetoed the appropriation ordinance, for he described the manner of disbursing the amount to barangay captains as illegal. Chan suggested releasing the fund through the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).
“Ngano ari man ta sa illegal ug dugay, nga nia may legal nga dali ra (Why would we try illegal means which is also longer, when we have a legal way and faster),” Chan said, adding that he could be charged with malversation of public funds if he would approve the release of the budget through the barangay captains.
On the same day, Chan requested a special session but it did not reach a quorum after the eight opposition councilors were absent during that session.
The city councilors, who were absent during that session, were councilors Michael Dignos, Flaviano Hiyas, Rudy Potot, Rex Mangubat, Junrey Gestopa, Gregorio Paquibot Jr., Rico Amores, and ex-officio member Eduardo Cuizon.
He said coursing the P236 million through the barangay captain was contrary to the government accounting rules as per Commission on Audit (COA) Circular No 94-013 dated Dec. 13, 1994, which he specified in his veto message.
“Kung i-agi nimo sa barangay, bisan approved na ang imong annual budget, kinahanglan pa ka magsession sa barangay council for your supplemental, so kung mag supplemental na pud ka ibalik na sa City Council for approval, dugay,” he added.
(If we pass this through the barangay, even if the annual budget had already been approved, the barangay council would still hold a session for your supplemental, so if you have a supplemental [budget] this will still be returned to the City Council for approval, so it will take longer.)
Aside from this, Chan said that the accounting office would not release the amount to most of the barangays because they still had unliquidated cash advances.
Chan also explained that the work of city councilors was to approve or disapprove the release of the P236 million.
But on the distribution of the financial assistance, it is the work of the mayor.
“Usurpation of authority ang gibuhat nila (is what they did),” he said, referring to the distribution of financial assistance labelled as donation.
Amores for his part, on a Facebook video post, explained why they did not attend the special session on December 23.
He said that in the agenda that they received, there were no attachments on the part of the mayor explaining why he vetoed the ordinance that the council had approved.
“Nangayo siya ug special session, wala siyay veto message, wala mi dokumento in writing kung nganong iyang gi-veto. Mao to ang rason nga wala mi mitunga kay unsa ma’y among i-discuss ngadto nga wala may veto message,” Amores said.
(He asked for a special session, he had no veto message, we have no document in writing why he vetoed it. That is the reason that we did not attend because what will we discuss there when there is no veto message.)
Amores also explained that they were more favorable in distributing the fund through the barangay for its fast release, compared to the CSWDO, which only had a limited number of personnel.
He also admitted that the council allegedly no longer trusted the mayor in distributing the fund, especially since the city’s COVID funds were allegedly not properly spent by the executive department.