One would think that because Governor Natalio F. Beltran III has been consigned to the backwaters of Tondo after Governor-elect Lolong Firmalo had decisively routed him in the election of May 10, 2010, he and his cohorts in the provincial capitol would stop pronto their blatant day-time raids on the provincial treasury.
What do you know? Beltran and company continue their thievery, if the Commission on Audit is to be believed.
Kapalmuks talaga. Alam kasi na hanggang tanghali na lang ng Hunyo 30 ang kaniyang pamamayagpag kaya ayun, sinasamantala ang kaniyang walang patumanggang paglustay ng salapi ng bayan.
Wala ka nang aabutan pa sa kapitolyo, Dr. Lolong. Nilimas na ng mga buwitre ang kaban ng bayan.
While everyone in Romblon is sleeping, content in the thought that Firmalo will soon clean up Beltran’s mess, big-time thievery is taking place, again if the Commission on Audit is to be believed.
While everyone in Romblon is basking on the happy afterglow of the opposition’s victory in the election, our governor was wasting public money on—of all things—school bags.
On May 14, 2010, or only four days after the election, Concepcion M. Caldit, state auditor and Team I audit team leader at the Region IV Audit Group II, wrote a letter to Gov. Beltran informing him that a P4.196 million purchase of school bags done by the provincial government was done without basis and, therefore, illegal.
The letter called the attention of three provincial officials, namely, Ranilo F. Fruelda of the provincial accounting office; Oscar Vicente L. Ylagan, Jr. of the provincial planning and development office; and Noel M. Magracia of the provincial budget office. The three apparently had roles in the purchase.
I will quote from Ms. Caldit’s letter for the benefit of our readers, to wit:
“In view of the late receipt of CY 2010 Annual Development Plan which we only received last 5 May 2010, we are returning again the herein Disbursement Voucher No. 100-10031516 together with its supporting documents, in favor of Etcetera.Com School and Office Supply for the payment of school bags. Please consider the following deficiencies:
“The procurement of school bags of at least P4,196,000.00 was without appropriation in violation of Section 4(1) of Presidential Decree No. 1445, otherwise known as the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines, thus the Province has no legal basis to purchase the same.”
Ms. Caldit went on to admonish Beltran and company by saying that “financial transactions and operations of any government agency shall be governed by the principle, “No money shall be paid out of any public treasury or depository except in pursuance of an appropriation law or other specific statutory authority.”
She said that the provincial government’s obligation request, No. R-GF 200-01-10-0298, to cover the required appropriation for the procurement of school bags revealed that P3,500,000 was lodged under the item “educational, cultural and sports development program” while P700,000 was lodged under the item “community assistance to barangays and schools”.
Tingnan natin kung papaanong pinalusot ni Beltran ang ganitong mga pagwaldas.
Ayon kay Ms. Caldit, sa kaniyang pag-rebisa sa programa at bill of materials para sa pagbili ng naturang school bags, nakita niya na ang P3,500,000 ay para sa “pagdalo sa mga seminar, pagsasanay, Quiz Bee, cultural presentation, premyo, tropeo, insentibo, at tulong pinansyal sa mga baragay, mga paaralan, at iba pang ahensya na may kinalaman sa pag-develop ng sports”.
Dagdag pa ni Ms. Caldit, ang P700,000 naman ay ginastos di-umano sa “construction materials” at “equipment” para sa mga barangay at eskuwelahan”.
Anak ka ng kagastusan, Gov. Jojo. Ang galing mong magpaikot. Pero mababaw ka pa rin. Akala mo makakalusot ka sa COA.
Mga katanungan sa taong-bayan ng Romblon.
Nakarating ba sa inyong barangay o eskuwelahan ang mga bagay na binanggit ng COA na pinamili ng lalawigan?
Kayo ba’y dumalo sa seminar, nagsanay, sumali sa Quiz Bee, nagpalabas ng tanawing kultural, nakatanggap ng premyo o tropeo, naabutan ng insentibo at tulong pinansyal, at nakatanggap ng construction materials at equipment galing sa kumpanyang Etcetera.Com School and Office Supply? Kilala ba ninyo ang may-ari ng kumpanyang ito na binayaran ng P4,196,000? May nabalitaan ba kayong bidding ukol sa bagay na ito?
Kung hindi ang inyong kasagutan sa mga katanungang ito, mapalad kayo sapagka’t mamanahin ninyo ang kaharian ng langit, hindi katulad ni Gov. Beltran at ng kaniyang mga apostoles na malamang mademanda sa Ombudsman.
According to the COA—through Ms. Caldit—“procuring school bags charged against the above programs/projects is bereft of legal basis”.
Sa Tagalog, iligal.
Ano kaya ang nasa isip ni Beltran nang gawin niya ito?
Mula noong maupo sa kapitolyo ang damuho, iniisip ko talaga kung ano ang tumatakbo sa isip ng pinakabata, ngunit pinakamatulis, na naging gobernador ng Romblon. Ngunit bigo ako. Hindi ko mahulaan ang likot ng imahinasyon ng batang ito. Sa isip ko, siguro, iniisip niya na bobo ang lahat ng Romblomanon. Marahil, iniisip niya na hindi madidiskubre ang kaniyang pagiging gahaman.
Well, well. There is a saying in English that says, “What goes around comes around.”
Sa Tagalog, “Ang umiikot, nauuntog.” Joke.
But seriously, I felt insulted by Beltran’s boldness. Can you imagine? Buying P4.196 million-worth of school bags is no mean feat. It is completely unnecessary. The timing defies logic and common sense, for in Romblon, school bags are not a priority in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
If only his heart bleeds for the Romblomanon, he would have known that the amount could have bought 2,398 fifty-kilogram sacks of rice, or 119,886 kilos at P32 per kilo, or 839,200 tablets of Biogesic at P5.00 per tablet, or 95,363 kilos of brown sugar at P44 per kilo.
This is not to say we don’t need school bags. We do. But come to think of it, when a member of a Romblomanon household is hungry, or is sick, do you think that member’s hunger would be satiated, or would his health improve, if he or she knew that the governor he or she elected in 2007 bought him or her a school bag, instead of helping him obtain food or medicine?
Go tell Beltran in Tondo your answer to this question while I puke.