Jagna Mayor Joseph A. Rañola, invoking the constitutional provision that government funds and property should be fully protected and conserved, accused Municipal Councilor (Kagawad) MaricrisJamora and presently the Secretary-General (Sec-Gen) of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) – Bohol Federation for violation of Section 33 of Presidential Decree (PD) 1445.
Rañolapersonally filed the criminal and administrative complaints on Friday, December 20, 2019, before the Office of the Ombudsman – Visayas against Jamora in relation to her acts as Sec-Gen of the PCL-Bohol.
The gist of Rañola’scomplaint centered on Jamora’s “deception” in securing the Php65,000 PCL registration fee of the municipality’s ten councilors attendance in a two-day assessment seminar and strategic planning at the Bohol Tropics Resort on December 10-11, 2019.
Rañolaalleged in his two-page affidavit through his counsel DaniloBantugan that Jamora knew beforehand that Php3,000 will be returned to the councilors as “rebate” and deftly used this scheme to entice the councilors to attend the assessment seminar.
No “rebate” was mentioned by PCL President JesceloAdiong in his letter to the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Jagna on November 18, 2019, in return for the attendance of the year-end assessment and strategic planning of the federation.
Three councilors – Anthony R. Aniscal, Noelle T. Acedillo, and Wilfredo R. Vinalon executed a joint affidavit narrating the money trail from the issuance of a Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) check for Php65,000 to the receipt of the Php3,000 “rebate” by the SB members.
The three councilors claimed that Jamora signed the disbursement voucher for the PCL planning seminar on behalf of Vice Mayor Theodore R. Abrenilla, M.D. and received the check on November 29, 2019.
The PCL issued an official receipt to the Jagna LGU acknowledging the amount on December 5, 2019, and five days later Jamora gave Php9,000 to Vinalon the alleged cash “rebate” with a request to give Aniscal and Acedillo their respective shares.
The three councilors turnedover to the municipal treasurer their “rebates” and was issued an official receipt for Php3,000 each.
Jamora’s acts were considered as “disadvantageous on the part of the municipal government of Jagna, Bohol,” according to Ranola.
Rañolarelied heavily on the Commission on Audit (COA) auditing rules and regulations for the prevention of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures known by its initials IUEEU.
According to Rañola, the disbursement voucher and Obligation Request for Php65,000 was signed by Jamora for and on behalf of Vice Mayor Theodore R. Abrenilla, M.D.
But before the Land Bank of Philippine (LBP) check was released to Jamora on November 19, 2019, “due diligence” was conducted by the Mayor’s office staff and was observed to be excessive for a two-day assessment in Tagbilaran City.
Despite the observation of the Mayor’s staff, Rañolareluctantly signed the check but the comments did not sit well with several councilors who allegedly berated and belittled the capabilities of the Mayor during the SB session.
SB Jagna sessions are beamed to Facebook and aired live over several local stations in the province.
Used to the tirades hurled against him during the SB sessions, Rañola kept his silence but blew his top when he learned that a “rebate” was given by Jamora to the councilors.
“As an elected official, she could have requested half the amount of the total registration fee since she boasted that Php3,000 was forthcoming after the seminar as early as weeks before the event,” Rañola fumed.
I am filing this complaint against Jamora to serve as a lesson to our government officials not to tinker with the people’s money.”
However, Rañola made it clear that the complaint has nothing to do with the PCL since his main concern was to uphold his “sworn duty to safeguard the coffers owned by my constituency.”
ONE TERM ONLY
Rañola met with members of the Bohol Media at the Flamingo Room of the Bohol Tropics Resort to explain the reason behind the filing of the complaint against Jamora.
When asked if he foresaw the possible political backlash of his complaint, Rañoladismissed the expected negative repercussions by categorically declaring that “I am not seeking reelection for another term.”
“I will work on my legacy of good governance to my constituents and leave my footprints for other officials to follow.”
Jamora did not return calls and text message from the Chronicle seeking her response to Rañola’sallegations.
The furor over the 2-day year-end assessment activity of the PCL held at the Bohol Tropics Resort in Tagbilaran City on December 10-11, 2019 boiled over social and mainstream media after a “rebate” of Php3,000 was distributed to its members after it was cut short for one day.
A registration fee of Php6,500 was assessed to all PCL members that covered room accommodation, food, convention facilities, and supplies for the two-day activity authorized by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
At the height of the Php3,000 “rebate” uproar, PCL President JesceloAdiong, Loay Municipal Councilor, through his counsel Atty. Lord “Popot” R. Marapao IV spoke over DYRD “InyongAlagad” to clarify the issues which he perceived as tarnishing the image of the PCL.
Marapao made clear that since the two-day assessment was cut short due to the lack of resource persons as scheduled by the DILG to one day, the PCL found it prudent to return the amount equivalent to the one-day cancellation.
“The PCL has no control over the disposition of the “rebate” by the councilors whether they will turn it over to their respective LGUs or keep it personally.”
When informed that a complaint was filed by Rañolabefore the Ombudsman over the handling of the PCL expenses, Marapao replied that they acknowledge the power of the mayor to oversee the use of their funds and that they were still sifting and weighing the public comments that they believed smeared the reputation of the PCL under Adiong.
Rañolais the President and Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit budget and consultancy and advocacy group Center for National Budget. (Chito M. Visarra)