|Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez (3rd|
Acting Mayor Belen Fernandez moved to secure all fixed and movable assets of Dagupan that could be subject of pilferage by any person, including by outgoing or resigning officials and employees. Fernandez told newsmen the disappearance of the three river cruise boats moored at Daongan ed Dawel happened a day before one official close to outgoing Mayor Benjamin Lim resigned.
There was another report that an official at Tondaligan Park also resigned and at the same time, some chairs and equipment that could be city-owned were reported missing. As to the three river boats, the police learned that these were pulled out on June 3 allegedly by personnel from the Magic Group owned by outgoing Mayor Lim in the presence of some personnel of the city government. However, outgoing City Administrator Vladimir Mata belatedly admitted to Acting Mayor Fernandez that the three river cruise boats are "technically owned by Mayor Lim", flip-flopping from his claim two years ago before the Sangguniang Panlungsod that these are city-owned. Though Mata said there could have been some miscommunication somewhere else as the three river cruise boats were only pulled out for repairs, Acting Mayor Fernandez said the new city administration might as well buy new ones as she has no intention of discontinuing with the river cruise. "Sayang young ginastos nating P9 million sa Daongan if we will stop," Fernandez said during a press conference at her family-owned CSI Stadia. At the same time, she also said that if indeed the three missing river cruise boats are owned by the outgoing mayor, then how come the city was paying for their maintenance and repair ever since they were harnessed to commute people in their tour of the Dawel River. In my opinion, public funds can not be used at any time to maintain privately-owned properties, vehicles and in this case the privately owned river boats. She said it is now up to the Commission on Audit (COA) to determine if laws were violated in connection with the operations of the three river boats said to be owned by the outgoing mayor.