'Undocumented buildings, billion-peso expenditures': Sotto deals with predecessors’ transactions

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 09 2019 12:58 AM

MANILA—Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto on Tuesday revealed more questionable transactions of his predecessor, many of which he had to address during his first 100 days in office.

While Sotto mostly stayed positive during his State of the City Address, discussing his plans for social service or the benefits to be received by Pasig residents, he also informed the public of the findings of 2 Commission on Audit (COA) reports.

“During the transition meetings, the first report we reviewed was the 2018 COA Annual Audit. The physical existence and validity of inventories of supplies and materials could be ascertained to the amount of P1.4 billion,” he said.

Sotto said the interim audit report also revealed that the amount of P1.8 billion remained “unreliable” or not properly accounted for.

“Ito po sinasabi ko para hindi magbintang sa dati o manira ng kapwa kundi dahil baka sa akin ito hanapin ng taong bayan,” he said, explaining that the local government is still paying for supplies purchased by the past administration.

(I am not saying this to blame my predecessor or to destroy someone’s reputation, but the people might ask me where the money went.)

Sotto said the COA also found out that procurement of supplies was “excessive” for the period of January to June 2019, which is pegged at P1 billion. This is 240 percent higher than the amount spent for the same period the year before.

The mayor said the previous administration also spent a large amount of funds on infrastructure that were not declared as government assets.

“P9.4 billion po ang ginastos natin para sa mga building na ito pero walang dokumento na nagsasaad na pagmamay-ari ito ng lungsod,” he said.

(We spent P9.4 billion for these buildings but we do not have any documents declaring these as city government properties.)

He said there were lots bought by the local government but were not under the name of the Pasig City Government.

Sotto said his team is sorting out the issues.

He also mentioned the large amount of petty cash and unliquidated cash advances, which have already reached P4.1 million.

He said this prompted his team to work with Land Bank for the issuance of cash cards for the salaries of local government employees and financial assistance given to residents.

Pasig is also now implementing public bidding, resulting in lower prices of projects, Sotto said.

“Halimbawa, nito lamang ay nag-procure tayo ng mga kagamitan para sa Bahay Aruga; P900,000 ang presyo sa purchase request pero nakakuha tayo ng lowest bidder na P600,000,” he said. “Malaking savings ito para sa atin.”

(For example, we needed supplies for Bahay Aruga; the purchase request was priced at P900,000 but we got the lowest bid at P600,000. This would mean big savings for us.)

Sotto said they were targeting lowering contract prices by 10 percent at the minimum.