Defensor stands by statement

February 4, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 272 views

QUEZON City candidate for mayor Mike Defensor on Friday said he is willing to resign as a lawmaker if the Commission on Audit (CoA) report questioning the validity of the cityโ€™s pandemic food pack procurements is โ€œfake news,โ€ as city hall claims.

Defensor said he is standing by his statement on CoA’s adverse findings on the use by the city government of P479 million given by the national government in 2020 as coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic financial assistance.

โ€œIf Mayor Joy Belmonte can prove that it is fake news, then I am willing to resign as a member of Congress. If she cannot, then she should resign,โ€ said the representative of health advocacy group Anakalusugan.

Defensor urged Quezon City residents and any interested citizen to visit the CoA website (coa.gov.ph, then click annual reports, 2020, local government units, national capital region, Quezon City) for the report.

โ€œYou can check for yourself,โ€ Defensor said.

He quoted the report: โ€œPayments for relief goods totaling P479.120 million sourced from Bayanihan grant to cities and municipalities were not supported with complete documentation contrary to Section 4 (6) of Presidential Decree No. 1445, and Item No. 3.6 of Government Procurement Policy Board Circular No. 01-2020 dated April 6, 2020.โ€

“Likewise, the posting and reporting requirements under Item Nos. 4.1 and 4.4 of Local Budget Circular No. 125 dated April 7, 2020, were not complied with. Thus, the validity and regularity of the transactions cannot be ascertained,โ€ the CoA report stated.

The report showed that of the P479 million, the city government spent P385 million on food packs, P84.7 million on rice and plastic bags, and P9.4 million on noodles.