Mexico mayor given deadline to act on COA findings

MEXICO, Pampanga — The Commission on Audit (COA) has given Mayor Teddy Tumang 60 days to act and implement its recommendations on findings of its recent examination, particularly the restitution of P149,133,819.18 “in favor of the Municipality of Mexico by persons determined to be liable.”

Documents obtained by Sun.Star Pampanga show that on February 12, 2013, COA chair Ma. Gracia Pulido-Tan wrote Tumang about the “FAIO [Fraud Audit and Investigation Office] Report No. 2012-010” or the “Report on the Results of the Audit on the Purported Anomalous Projects and Expenditures of the Municipality of Mexico, Pampanga for the Calendar Years 2007 to mid 2010.”

The letter was reportedly received at the Mayor’s Office in February 28, a Sun.Star Pampanga source said.

In its recommendations, the COA team led by supervisor lawyer Alexander Juliano, State auditor Desiree Aquino, and members Special Investigator IV Engr. Francisco Valentino Jr., State auditor II Deborah Araojo and State auditor I Eduardo Acosta requested Tumang to “comply strictly with the provisions of the IRR [Implementing Rules and Regulations] of Republic Act 9184 and the relevant GPPB [Government Procurement Policy Board] Resolutions in the procurements to be made by the municipality.”

The COA recommended courses of action also asked Tumang to “institute proper charges, administrative and criminal, against concerned officials and private individuals in accordance with the penal provision under Section 65 of IRR-A of RA 9184 and Section 3 (e) and (h) of RA No. 3019 and Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code.”

The audit, documents show, was requested by Vice Mayor Roy Manalastas and councilors Rex Calma, Emmanuel Manalo and Rudencio Gonzales on August 31, 2010, and was authorized under Audit Office 2010-653 dated October 4 of the same year. Its primary objective was “to determine whether the selection of contractors/suppliers for projects/expenditures and award of contracts by the Municipality of Mexico implemented in 2007 up to mid 2010 were made in accordance with RA 9184 or the “Government Procurement Act.”

In its findings discussed with municipal officials during the July 26, 2012 exit conference, the COA found out that some P43,168,403.79 for procurement of vehicles and medicines was awarded to bidders, who “had either close relationship or personal dealings with the head of the procuring entity; used the same name of another or allowed another to use one’s name for participation in biddings; and who maliciously submitted different bids through two or more persons, corporations, partnerships or any other business entity in which he has an interest, to create the appearance of competition that does not exist so as to be adjudged as the winning bidder.

The COA said the municipal Bids and Awards Committee failed to discharge its mandate as the law requires, thereby producing results that are disadvantageous to the public.

The COA also noted that the municipality went on a P39,321,098.10 contract shopping from 2007 to mid 2010, all awarded to one Buyu Trading and Construction, on the basis of irregularly filled-up canvass forms and alleged fraudulent names and signatures. The audit also disclosed that 164 disbursement vouchers totaling P26,719,162.53 were paid without the approval of the municipal accountant.

“We request that the recommendations be implemented and that this Commission be informed of the actions taken within 60 days (from receipt hereof),” the COA urged the mayor.

Sun.Star Pampanga tried to reach Tumang, but repeated calls remained unanswered, although in an interview last year, he said he would welcome the results of the audit.



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