Barangay Dolores chair Vilma Caluag at the recent PDP-Laban Convention in LGC Event Center, City of San Fernando. CLTV-36 file photo
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — For chomping off pizzas worth P1.7 million, the officials of Barangay Dolores here are now in hot water.
Barangay chief Vilma Caluag, who is also president of the city’s Association of Barangay Captains, along with barangay treasurer Edward Pangan are now facing criminal and administrative charges before the Ombudsman for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
On Wednesday, local businessman Alvin R. Garcia told the media in a press conference here that they were surprised to know that based on a Commission on Audit report, for several months before the elections in 2019, the said village officials consumed P1.74-million worth of snacks from a popular pizza parlor along Jose Abad Santos Avenue here.
This constitute grave misconduct which is contrary to the best interest of the service and violation of RA 6713 (Norms of conduct of public officials and employees) and Code of Ethical Standards for public officials and employees, Garcia said.
He, as well as co-complainants Roberto L. Cayanan and Reynaldo G. Yap, are all bona fide residents of Barangay Dolores.
The complainants are asking the Ombudsman to have the two officials suspended and dismissed from public office. The case filed on May 27, 2021 stemmed from the COA report dated July 13, 2020.
Garcia also said the COA report found some deficiencies in the P1.743 million expenses of the barangay for meals during various activities.
The COA found that almost 47 percent or P807,350.07 of the P1.743 million meal expenses were purchased from the same pizza establishment in the city. Garcia said that the barangay treasurer also happens to be the manager of the said pizza parlor branch.
“It has a conflict of interest. There are also lots of missing documents such as public bidding and receipts,” Garcia said. He added that there was no bidding done for much of the purchases under the said amount.
The COA audit report said for 2019, “the barangay spent a total of P1,743,579 for payments of food consumed during various activities of the barangay.” The COA also added that there were transactions exceeding the amount of P50,000 that did not undergo bidding as required by the applicable rules and regulations.
Other than the pizza, the COA also found that the papers for the P88,800 reimbursements of medical and burial assistance were insufficient, according to Garcia. The COA report said that the medical and burial assistances were “not adequately documented nor supported with any documents evidencing disbursements.”
Garcia told reporters that the case has been filed before the Ombudsman to give justice to how the funds are used under the administration of Caluag. Garcia, who claimed to be a relative of Caluag, said that he is morally obliged to speak out for the other residents of the barangay who are afraid to make their barangay officials accountable for their actions.
Caluag could not be reached for comment as of press time.