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Mandaue City College conflict: Grievance confab set for tomorrow

CEBU, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman Public Assistance Bureau has ordered Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Mandaue City College president Paulus Mariae Cañete to appear for a grievance conference before the anti-graft office tomorrow.

Cañete said that Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez shall be the one to mediate the conference at 2 p.m.

Dr. Elmer Ripalda, MCC dean of Information Technology and Engineering, in his letter dated September to assistant ombudsman for the Visayas Virginia Palanca Santiago requested for an appropriation action after city officials concerned failed to provide him a copy of the obligation request and disbursement voucher supporting the release of P5 million intended solely for MCC under Cañete as per resolution number 11-289-10.

Cañete said that since 2006 when the MCC was created, the 40 teachers and 15 administrative staff have not yet been paid their salaries.

Mandaue City has two MCC campuses. One is headed by Cañete located in Barangay Tipolo and the other is headed by Susana Cabahug located at the City Sports and Cultural Center.

The Cañeteled MCC was created by the previous administration of former mayor and now Provincial Board Member Thadeo Ouano while the Cabahug-led MCC was created under the administration of acting mayor Amadeo Seno. Jr. and continued under the administration of Cortes.

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When Seno sat as acting mayor after Ouano was suspended sometime in April 2007 for the controversial ASEAN lampposts scandal, the latter issued a memorandum designating Cabahug as MCC caretaker after Cañete reportedly refused, despite repeated demands, to submit the financial statements and bank accounts of the school to the city council.

When Cortes became mayor in May 2007, he issued a memorandum directing Cañete to cease and desist from holding the position as MCC president due to lack of trust and confidence.

Aggrieved, Cañete filed a case against Cortes disputing the memorandum. The case is still pending before the Court of Appeals.

Cañete likewise filed a mandamus case against the city government for the release of P5 million. This is still also pending before the Regional Trial Court Branch 58 in the city.

Cañete said that despite the pendency of the case, the P5 million was released on November 27, 2008 and documents showed it was received by Cabahug.

City Council resolution number 11-874-2008 or a resolution "Urging the city treasurer through the Office of the Mayor, to release the financial aid of P5 million to the Mandaue City College headed by Dr. Paulus Mariae Cañete", stated that the city council had enacted and approved the city's 2008 Annual Budget with a clear provision of giving the aid of P5 million to the legitimate MCC.

The said resolution was approved on November 5, 2008 without objection as proposed by former city councilor Victor Biaño.

Biaño filed another Resolution number 11-289-2010 or a resolution "Earnestly requesting the city mayor to direct the city treasurer's office to process and pay out the legitimate liabilities and back salaries of the officers and staff and faculty of MCC headed by Dr. Paulus Cañete out of the 2010 P5 million budget for MCC".

This resolution was approved on June 28, 2010 without objection.

Cañete said that the P5 million was already released on July 2010 but they were reportedly not given a copy of the voucher and some information as to who recieved the said amount.

Cañete's MCC is charging P100 per unit to its students. The said college offers ten different courses and has more than 400 graduates since its creation four years ago. (FREEMAN)

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