The vehicles in question. Contributed photo
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — “In-inspect lang namin itong mga nabili nilang mga sasakyan at okay naman ang pagka-andar, iyong features at mechanism. Sinubukan din iyong fire truck, okay din naman. Nagamit na rin pala ng Bureau of Fire protection.”
So said board member Benny Jocson after conducting on Thursday the initial investigation by the sangguniang panlalawigan of alleged irregularities in the purchase of three brand new service vehicles by the local government unit of Sto. Tomas town.
The chair of the SP committee on justice, good governance and accountability, Jocson was accompanied by his co-chair BM Jun Canlas and member BM Nelson Calara in personally inspecting the service vehicles to check on their condition.
A complaint was filed by Vice Mayor Matias “Bong” Pineda at the SP and the Office of the Ombudsman against Mayor Gloria “Ninang” Ronquillo, municipal treasurer Regina Carreon, municipal accountant Nympha Lacsina, local bids and awards committee head Gilbert Cruz and secretary Eliza Quiambao, bidder’s representative Rowell Benitez of JAC Automobile alleging that the three service vehicles were overpriced: the ambulance at P3,495,000l the fire truck at P4,995,000; and the minidump truck at P3,995,000.
It was also contended in the complaint that Ronquillo failed to secure a resolution from the sangguniang bayan that Pineda heads authorizing her to purchase the said service vehicles.
Meanwhile, Ronquillo declined to comment on the matter, saying the case is ongoing but made then assurance that she will cooperate in the investigation.
She, however, stressed that the vehicles are needed by the municipality, particularly the firetruck which has already been used twice to respond to fire incidents in town.
“Mahaba pang proseso ito at itong inspection ay parte lang ng procedure at based on our internal rules, hindi na muna kami makakapag-comment pa,” Jocson noted.
He added that they will create a report on the result of the inspection which will be tackled by the committee during the regular session.