ANGELES CITY – Perceived irregularities in the ratification of projects where the controversial P360-million city sports complex is included prompted a city councilor here to bolt the majority in the sangguniang panlungsod (SP).
Councilor Jae Flores said a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the unnecessary projects is also being considered because the bidding and awarding for the projects were done prior to their publication.
“Eku mipalage lub na apruban ke uling atin kung ditak a question kening kakung pamiisip-isip (I have some doubts in approving it because of some questions in my mind),” Flores told a press conference after the SP’s special session at the Fortune Restaurant here last Friday.
“I am questioning the effectivity of the ordinance since the bids for the projects were already submitted and awarded as early as September when their publication was only made last November 28 (2018),” Flores said.
“The presiding officer reasoned that there is already a Supreme Court decision where the contract has already been awarded prior to the publication,” he said.
“But in my personal opinion, there is a clear irregularity on the transaction.”
Flores said a special session was called by Vice Mayor Bryan Matthew Nepomuceno to ratify 14 projects; including the sports complex, construction of new classrooms and barangay roads.
Flores said he is leaving the majority after voting against the sports complex ratification. “If that’s it, so be it,” he declared.
Flores was joined by maverick councilor Jesus “Jay” Sangil during the press conference, the latter explaining that the proposed sports complex was included with the regular projects in infrastructure like classrooms and barangay roads. Sangil said the sports complex is number 14 in the list of the projects that were ratified.
He said councilor Carmelo “Pogi” Lazatin also objected to the ratification.
Sangil also disclosed that one of the items was approved in 2017 but was only ratified last Friday.
“That should have been reverted to the general funds and proposed again in the following fiscal year,” he said.
Sangil said when he asked for the publication of the said projects, “it seems that the sports complex is the only one with publication.”
It was learned that the proposed city sports complex will sit on a three-hectare property at the former Gabay Diwa Rehabilitation Center in Barangay Pampang and is about 20 to 30 minutes from the downtown area passing through barangay roads and heavily populated areas, though the Ospital Ning Angeles (ONA), barangays Balibago, Malabanias and Pampang and Sitio Magkalinis.
New Clark City
Sangil said instead of putting up a sports complex now, the city government can enter into a memorandum of agreement with the New Clark City (NCC) that is now rushing for completion an international sports complex for the country’s hosting of the SEA Games in November.
He said the P360-million fund for the sports complex should instead be used for social services and education.
“We made a manifestation where we reiterated our earlier position for proposed amendments that the funds are much needed and should instead be reallocated to better use where many will benefit like the expansion and improvement of the city college, public high school and elementary as well as hiring of new teachers,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Flores said he clearly stated in his letter to Nepomuceno that he supported every program or project that the majority wanted approved.
“It is just this one time that I did not support them. Does this mean that I am leaving the majority? Or they wanted me out of the majority? If that is it, so be it,” he declared.
The city government got into two “term loans” with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), one for the proposed P360-million sports complex on a seven-year term loan and the other for the proposed P560-million new city hall building on a 15- year term loan.
Both controversial projects make the bulk of the P1.2 billion funds with the additional money coming from the “reversion of funds and savings.”