Darlan Palencia Barcelon
Legazpi City, [04.16.15] – Albay Governor Joey Sarte Salceda has issued a statement shedding light about the case of malversation filed against him by five punong barangay [village chief] officials of Legazpi City in the Office of the Ombudsman [OMB] on the alleged misuse of Malampaya funds.
In his account, Salceda explained the use of the PhP47-million has a legal basis using the fund for the 2009 calamity fund which was used to bankroll the Mayon eruption in that year.
The Governor cited his opinion on the case at bar, by saying the following justifications; The legal issue is malversation for using the PhP47 million from Malampaya funds for calamity.
Is that allowed?
1.Yes, it is allowed per Presidential Decree 910.
2.Are we supposed to know the source? No, because it was through the Department of Budget and Management [DBM] with corresponding Special Allotment Release Order [SARO] its legal and proper.
3.Do we know that it was Malampaya? No, We did not, and if ever we know it, we are not going to accept it, of course we will accept it because we are just beneficiaries.
4.What was our request? Calamity assistance for Mayon victims which we actually used for that purpose for 10,000 plus families, in 2009 Mayon was placed under Alert level 4 and we had 97 days of evacuation with a minimum PhP 2 million daily budget. We purchased water mobile truck, we constructed and repaired comfort rooms in the evacuation centers, managed the evacuation centers by providing mats, pillows, cooking pots, we hired medical workers and rescuers and provided incentives with a total costs of PhP250 million. We also provided assistance to those who were affected by the ash falls and those who adopted family who chose to stay with their friends and relatives .kulang pa nga yon, marami lang ang nag donate kaya we survive.
5. The timing of filing is bad because the festive mood of Magayon Festival 2015 gusto pa sirain. Tapos Legazpi City pa nag file when directly when directly beneficial to them kasi ang festival is held in Legazpi City.
6. Malacañang ang dapat ang kasuhan bakit tayo binigyan ng Malampaya funds, Salceda quipped.
Meanwhile, Salceda has assured the Albayanos that the provincial government of Albay will continue to deliver the services under his mandate and at the same time facing the charges against him.
Although disgusted on the recent political development involving his political career for the past 17 years, he still maintain a bomb of a clear conscience, banking on facts and records that eventually, he will be cleared at the end of the day, he said.
In its eight-page complaint, VACC said that the provincial government received from the national government a P47-million allotment sourced from the Malampaya Fund for the victims of the disaster.
In a report to the Commission on Audit, the DSWD in Albay said the money was used to buy rice, firewood bundles and feeding programs for residents of Barangays Victory Village 27, Bogña, Padang, San Roque and Matanag.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption [VACC] filed the complaint in behalf of the residents of Legazpi City who complained of not receiving provincial assistance after the eruption.
Also included in the criminal complaint is Albay Provincial Social Welfare and Development chief Yolanda Guanzon.
The complainants are demanding the OMB to place the respondents under preventive suspension to prevent them from influencing the outcome of the probe.