Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ocon blows whistle on 11 consultancy deals

OPPOSITION Councilor Zaldy Ocon yesterday accused the Emano administration of wasting public funds to pay 11 ‘‘consultants.’’

Ocon blew the whistle after the PaDayon Pilipino-dominated city council approved on Monday Ordinance no. 2006-251 that renewed city hall’s 11 consultancy contracts.

The consultants have been receiving fees ranging from P15 thousand to P20 thousand a month.

At P15 thousand each for the 11 consultants, city hall has been spending P165 thousand a month.

The ordinance renewed the contracts from July 1 to December 31. The consultants are lawyers Noel Guibone, Ramon Tabor, Reynaldo Llego, Pureza Ramos, President Elipe, Virginia Plaza, Marvin Pacheco, Armando Pomar, Dulcesimo Ytem, Cipriano Paasa and Engr. Jose Belen.

Four of the consultants––Tabor, Ramos, Elipe and Ytem––used to serve as elected councilors of the city.

Aside from Guibone and Tabor who have been serving as ‘‘overseers’’ of the City Economic Enterprise Department (CEED) and the Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA), respectively, there is no immediate and clear explanation for the renewal of the contracts of the other consultants. Neither are their functions clear.

Ocon questioned the passage of the ordinance, saying it did not specify the functions and duties of the consultants.

Ocon called on the Commission on Audit (COA) to start reviewing the approved ordinance.
"The COA should look into it (ordinance), even question it... City hall has no basis in getting consultants," Ocon said.

Ocon also urged the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to disallow the release of public funds to pay the consultancy fees.

Earlier, DBM declared the incentives for some 2,588 city hall employees illegal.

DBM director for northern Mindanao Romeo Melad, who disallowed city hall’s 2006 budget due to a projected overspending, said city hall should stop giving bonuses that were ‘‘without legal basis.’’

Ocon lashed at Mayor Vicente Emano for allegedly certifying the ordinance on consultancy contracts as urgent. He said there ordinance was approved without 1st and 2nd readings.

Ocon said Emano and his allies in the council violated Republic Act No. 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act. He said this law applies to consultancy services.

Based on this law, he said, there should have been a public bidding to ensure competitive prices for consultancy services, and transparency.

"Why is it that Emano wants to spend another million for 11 people when the DBM disallowed the release of allowances to city hall employees?’’ asked Ocon. ‘‘The employees are complaining yet they (Emano and his allies) have been wasting public funds for consultancy services.’’

"What I know is that the consultants would be receiving P1 million, more or less, during the remaining months of this year," Ocon said. ‘‘I can’t say eaxactly when city hall started paying these consultants.’’

He added: "Some of the consultants are reportedly bedridden. How can some of them help city hall when they are already weak due to old age?"

Ocon said he stepped out of the council’s session hall to protest the ordinance’s passage.
"I didn’t want to be part of their corruption," Ocon said.

"That can be read at Gold Star Daily>Link

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