By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – The mayor of this city will form a task force to investigate the whereabouts of the tens of millions of pesos of this city’s funds spent by the fiestas heads called Hermano Mayo.
Mayor Belen T. Fernandez said that after she arrives from a seminar in Sri Lanka she would form a committee to investigate how the hermano mayors and former and present city councilors Brian Lim, Guillermo Vallejos, Red Erfe Meja, Jesus Canto, and Alvin Coquia spent the sum.
“Atty (Liberato) Ope Reyna did not spend a single cent while those hermano mayors (under the administration of former mayor Benjie S. Lim) spent up to P10 million in a fiesta”.
Each of the hermano mayors according to news reports received P3 million seed money and earned an averaged of P2.5 million in the rents of baratillo in a month long celebration.
The issue of the accountabilities of the fiestas’ heads cropped up after Northern Watch published that Vice Mayor Lim has liquidated to the city accountant the funds he used and earned in the 2012 Bangus Festival’s celebration.
When asked that the burden of proof lies to her and Sunday Punch, a community newspaper, that Lim has already liquidated the sum, Fernandez said she was not privy on it since she was too busy in the month long celebration of this year’s Bangus Festival.
“I’ll form a task force to investigate how these hermano mayors spend the monies,” she stressed.
Leonardo Micua, who was at the press conference called by Fernandez, said that all the reports of his newspaper on the fiestas and Bangus Festivals were based on the reports of the Commission on Audit.
“Lim has only liquidated one half of the monies he should be returning to the coffer”.
But Fernandez downplays the act of Lim by saying that even he returned the amount if it was not allowed by COA’s guidelines there was still a problem.
“Wala rin iyan. Kaya balak ko I will organize a task force to investigate the whereabouts of the unremitted funds