Mayor Chan Ready to Beg, Kneel to Oppositions Over Approval for Odette Victims
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan said he is ready to beg and kneel to oppositions over approval of cash aid for typhoon Odette victims.
Mayor Chan says he’s willing to plead and kneel in front of each of the eight opposing city councilors just to get the P236 million in monetary aid for typhoon victims approved. The city council approved the budget payout to typhoon-affected families on December 20, 2021, which will be released through the barangays.
The mayor, however, vetoed the appropriation law on December 23, 2021, claiming that the method of disbursing the funds to barangay leaders was illegal. The grant should be released through the City Social Welfare and Development Office, according to Chan (CSWDO).
“Why would we try illegal means which is also longer, when we have a legal way and faster,” Chan said in local dialect, adding that he could be charged with malversation of public funds if he would approve the release of the budget through the barangay captains.
Chan proposed a special session on the same day, but it failed to establish a quorum since eight opposing councilors were missing. Michael Dignos, Flaviano Hiyas, Rudy Potot, Rex Mangubat, Junrey Gestopa, Gregorio Paquibot Jr., Rico Amores, and ex-officio member Eduardo Cuizon were the municipal councilors who were absent during that session.
He claimed that passing the P236 million through the barangay captain was against government accounting standards, citing Commission on Audit (COA) Circular No 94-013 dated December 13, 1994, in his veto mail. Apart from that, Chan stated that the accounting office would not deliver the funds to the majority of the barangays since they still owed money from unpaid cash advances.
The city councilors’ job, according to Chan, was to approve person deny the P236 million disbursement. However, it is the mayor’s responsibility to distribute the financial aid.
Amores, for one, stated why they did not attend the special session on December 23 in a Facebook video. He claimed that there were no attachments from the mayor explaining why he vetoed the ordinance that the council had adopted in the agenda they received.
In comparison to the CSWDO, which only had a limited number of staff, Amores indicated that they were more favorable in distributing the fund through the barangay for its quick release. He also stated that the council had lost faith in the mayor’s ability to distribute the fund, especially after the executive department reportedly mismanaged the city’s COVID funding.
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