Balili lot deal controversy: Bolo staff helped follow up papers

- Fred Languido () - September 18, 2009 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The mysterious payment voucher for the controversial Balili lot deal might have come from the office of embattled Provincial Board Member Juan Bolo. Or did it?

This came out in yesterday’s investigation conducted by the ad hoc committee created by the PB to look into the P98.9 million deal entered into by Capitol.

The committee found out that the forms used for the payment voucher match those coming from the office of Bolo.

It was not however clear whether the payment voucher also came from the same office.

However, Geraline Guba, a staff from the Capitol’s internal audit division, said the staff of Bolo followed the documents and even made several follow-ups to ensure that it is immediately acted upon.

Guba said they received the first obligation request and the voucher on April 24, 2008 at 3:34 p.m.

It was brought by Bolo’s brother-in-law and staff Emerciano Sabellano. The documents, despite the other transactions that were forwarded ahead, were given priority by the internal audit personnel because of the alleged pressure from Bolo’s staff to hasten the review.

Guba said that first obligation request and payment voucher for the Balili transaction was released by their office on the following day, April 25 at 11:00 a.m.

Sabellano fetched the documents and brought it to the accounting office.

Provincial board member Jose Maria Gastardo noted the very fast processing of the transaction.

Gastardo said he was impressed by the swiftness of the transaction especially that on that same date that the documents for the Balili land acquisition were processed came the approval of the resolution 1781 which granted authority to Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to purchase the property.

The resolution is a requirement in the preparation of the obligation request and the voucher for it to be processed and passed in the internal audit section.

“Whoever is making the follow-up must be very efficient,” Gastardo said.

Guba said that normally she will be the one who brings the documents from their office to the accounting office, but in the Balili transaction, Sabellano got it.

The second obligation request and voucher was again brought by Sabellano to pre-audit on September 22, 2008 at 1:41 p.m. However the documents had to be returned several times because of discrepancies.

Internal audit chief Manny Guial explained that there was a tax declaration that has to be deducted from the contract amount because it is not covered by the sale.

Guial said that documents had to be returned to the requisitioning office.

Although there was no formal declaration that Bolo’s office was the one that requested for payment, but his staff, Sabellano, was the one who got the document.

Guba who had custody of the documents said that the second batch of documents for the Balili transaction was returned to Sabellano on September 23.

It was also Sabellano who brought it back to them the following day, but was again returned.

Another staff of Bolo, Clarissa Sususco, fetched the documents until it was returned by Sabellano when it was approved by the pre-audit on September 26 in the morning.

Guba said that from September 22 to 26, Sususco had been making follow- ups of the transaction. Guba said Sususco would call her at least twice a day to make the follow-up.

“Clarissa Sususco is always calling our office, morning and afternoon, to ask about the voucher,” Guba told the members of the Ad

hoc committee.

Sususco is the wife of provincial assessor Anthony Sususco who also chairs the Cebu Provincial Appraisal Committee.

Sabellano and Sususco, who were also called by the committee, denied preparing the obligation requests and the vouchers.

Sabellano however pointed to a certain Charity in the provincial treasurer’s office as the one who prepared the voucher. They likewise denied making follow-ups of the transaction citing no personal interest.

But Sabellano admitted bringing the documents to the pre-audit. He said he was just ordered by his co-workers to get the documents from Charity and bring it to the pre-audit. —/NLQ (THE FREEMAN)

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