Juday Versus Iday Continues
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
LINGAYEN – “Where did those funds go?” A lady councilor here posed to the media where the mayor and her staff put the One Million Forty Thousand One Hundred Sixty Five Pesos appropriation for two years and seven months on the two positions that have not been filled up after they were created in 2015.
|DISSENT - From left Stalwart Councilor Juday Vargas |
and SGLG Awardee Mayor Iday Castaneda. Vargas questions
the Mayor on the whereabouts of the million pesos funds.
Councilor Judy “Juday” Vargas cited a document given to this paper that the two positions of Mechanic III and Supply Officer II have a yearly budget of P165, 656.98 and P236,987.92, respectively, or a total of P1,040, 165.00 for two years and seven months as of press time for salaries, allowances, and others.
Both Municipal Accountant Nelson Gumapos and Human Resources Chief Dindo Ungson told this paper that the unfilled positions were converted by the Administration of Mayor Josefina “Iday’ Castaneda to a supplemental budget and eventually funneled as savings of the local government unit (LGU) here.
Vargas said the practices of Castaneda and her staff had even been questioned by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) in a letter sent to the LGU when the Board reviewed the 2015 Annual Appropriation Budget (AAB).
“That the ordinance creating the positions of Supply Officer III, Salary Grade 14 and Mechanic III Salary Grade 9 under the Office of the Mayor shall be submitted,” exhortation through a letter by the officers of the Local Finance Committee (LFC) of the provincial government to the SB members in January 2015.
An emphatic Councilor Vargas, the lone opposition stalwart at the SB, criticized the practice and wisdom of the Castaneda Administration despite the reminder of the LFC to pass a specific ordinance and not just insert the two positions in the AAB.
“When you make a position what do you need? You need an ordinance, you need budget for a position ano ang nangyari nauna ang budget kaysa iyong ordinance. Hinde lang iyon, ang masaklap 2015 pa bina-budgetan. Isipin mo iyan naka budget na siya wala namang ordinansa,” Vargas told this paper.
In the SB hearing last June 20, 2017, Vargas vigorously argued with Human Resources Chief Ungson and Municipal Accountant Gumapas on the sense of the creation of the two controversial positions by legislating them into a specific ordinance and sneaked them into the AAB.
Gumapos and Ungson were unfazed with the interpretation of the solon but insisted that there are two ways in the creation of a position through insertion at the AAB or legislation of the specific ordinance.
The lawmaker however disagreed that an Annual Appropriation Budget was not the proper venue to create the post as it only showed in general terms how the funds of this Capital Town were delegated.
“If that is the case and maybe then sana hinde na nila ginagawa iyong creation ng position because mas madali lang pala ang process na lapitan lang kayo at sabihin ko na ito po iyong magandang ordinansa, i-budgetan po natin, iyong pag create ng position eh di hinde na dadaan dito we will not know the duties and functions, ano ang qualifications nila? Saan sila susuweldo? Anong office ang mga iyan? Those are the reasons why we need the ordinance for the creation of the office because we will scrutinize also one by one cause this is the money of the people, tax payers. Do we really need? What is his task? Saang office sila babagsak? That is the difference of the creation of an ordinance for those two positions and the difference of the appropriation ordinance because appropriation ordinance, in my understanding is for the budget, for the funds that we have received, may IRA tayo, paano iyong sources natin, dito sa atin di ba? Saan natin dadalhin? ” she argued.
In the transcript of the June 20 hearing Vargas accused the executive department of hiding the more than one million pesos allocation for the unfilled positions.
“I checked my files 2014 and it was not included in the budget, it was 2015 that was included in the budget followed by 2016 and then followed again by 2017 and I also asked the local finance committee before. What are you doing with these funds? Dahil wala naman tayong nakapasok doon sa 2015 wala namang nakapasok sa 2016 wala naman tayong na hire sa 2017 wala din tayong na hire, what we are doing to the budget and you told me and you will saying mag supplemental budget tapos i-reallign natin. So, if this is the process that we do from my eyes again I will repeat what I said before it might be harsh and I am sorry but in my eyes you are hiding the funds in these two positions and then we revert, we realign and using again for another purposes”.
Because of the persistence of Vargas, the Executive Department requested the SB to pass a specific ordinance this year on the creations of the two positions.
Mayor Castaneda told this paper earlier that the reason why the mechanic was not hired because of the absence of the motor pool that will house him.
“Wala pang motor pool kaya iyong pang sueldo sa mechanic nilagay sa savings. Tapos iyong savings iyon inilagay sa supplemental (budget),” she stressed.