THE House committee on public accounts on Wednesday issued a subpoena to Mexico, Pampanga Mayor Teddy Tumang after he skipped the hearing on alleged procurement irregularities in his municipality dating back to 2007.
Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel, assistant minority leader of the Commission on Appointments (CA), moved to subpoena.
Tumang who was commanded and directed to appear in the next hearing.
Panel chairman, ABANG LINGKOD Party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano, carried Pimentel’s motion for a subpoena even as he prevented a lawyer in attendance to represent the mayor in the proceedings.
“We need Mayor Tumang to be physically present. As I’ve said, he’s not around, he waived his right,” Paduano said. He subsequently told the lawyer to submit Tumang’s explanation for his absence.
During his interpellation, Pimentel expressed frustration over the mayor’s absence since no other invited resource person could have been able to answer his questions.
“Mr. Chair, my questions will be directed to Mayor Tumang because the subject matter of the this audit report which is about two inches thick is Mayor Tumang himself. Because he signed the P149 million supposedly anomalous transactions by himself,” Pimentel alleged.
“So kailangan po natin na ang makasagot nito, is si Mayor Tumang mismo…we need the principal resource person because there have been several hundred vouchers signed by Mayor Tumang,” Pimentel, the former chairman of the House committee on good government and public accountability added.
He went on to warn Tumang’s legal counsel about the possible consequences on his actions.
“’Pag hindi po siya sumipot during the next hearing, may I remind all of you that Congress has also the power to issue contempt…by a vote of two-thirds of the members present, there being quorum,” he said, adding that refusal to obey summons is one of the grounds for citing a resource person in contempt.
Failure to appear before the panel despite being cited in contempt would lead to the issuance of a warrant of arrest, Pimentel warned.
The panel hearing stemmed from the complaints-slash-affidavits of Ernesto Punzalan, who raised the alleged anomalous processing of procurement and contracts by the municipality of Mexico from 2007 to mid-2010, as well as a loan agreement with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) totaling P950 million.
The Commission on Audit (CoA) previously initiated a special audit leading to Fraud Audit Investigation Office (FAIO) Report No.2012-010, which revealed a series of alleged irregular projects and expenditures culminating in the accumulation of P149,133,819.18.
Paduano said at least 20 out of the 30 panel members voted in favor of turning the briefing into a “full-blown motu proprio investigation”.