BONTOC, Mountain Province – A concerned taxpayer requested Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to investigate the alleged questionable P16.5 million loan agreement between former officials of the provincial government and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) considering that the proceeds of the loan were used for a non-operational elevator in the government center.
In his letter to the Secretary, Salvador Liked, a Barangay Kagawad of Balintaogan, Bauko, Mountain Province, stated the loan agreement was executed between former officials of the provincial government and the Land Bank of the Philippines primarily for the purchase of a brand new elevator and a generator for the controversial Bontoc Commercial Center.
He alleged he had been pursuing the request for a conduct of a sincere investigation on the loan agreement six years ago but the Commission on Audit (COA) and the provincial government reportedly refused to provide the pertinent documents of the loan and the specific project where the same was used.
However, he claimed that a concerned citizen provided him a copy of the alleged undated loan agreement despite the run-around that was given him by the COA and the provincial government.
Based on the evaluation of the documents given to him, it appears that the elevator installed at the government center building was second hand and not working, aside from the fact that the elevator was already reportedly paid without being installed, and that the non-working elevator was eventually installed after he allegedly started investigating the matter.
Further, he also alleges there was also no brand new generator set that was installed and that there was no need to again paint the government center building as the same was already painted in the first loan agreement.
He pointed out that it was taxpayer’s money that was used by the provincial government to pay for the alleged questionable loans, thus, it is but prudent for the people of Mountain Province to know the truth, hence, concerned investigating agencies should conduct a thorough investigation to ascertain those who were involved in the reported anomalous transaction and for them to be properly charged before the appropriate graft bodies.
In his earlier to Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano, Liked stipulated that the amount of P16.5 to finance the acquisition of 1 unit elevator, 1 unit generator set and carpentry works and other finishing works of the Bontoc Commercial Complex building or Bagsakan Center is grossly excessive, especially that the elevator installed, after one initial complaint, did not work or even operate at all.
He alleges that previously, the provincial government reportedly brought down 1 generator set from the Capitol Building after their initial complaint for the COA and other investigators to see, but there are questions on how the provincial inspectorate team validated the workability of the elevator knowing that before the final payment of a government contract, the works must be accepted by the end user and whoever accepted the same for the end user.
Liked also questioned the LBP Mountain Province if it inspected the center before releasing the partial and final proceeds of the loan to ascertain if there was an indeed an elevator installed under pertinent provisions of the agreement.