Cebu News

Raps eyed vs gov, vice gov on Yolanda aid ‘misuse’

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The One Cebu Party and gubernatorial candidate Winston Garcia are considering the filing of malversation and graft and corruption complaints against Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale over the reported “misuse” of super typhoon Yolanda donations and relief goods.

Garcia accused the two officials of “politicking” in the distribution of Yolanda assistance.

He said the complaint may even be for plunder since the amount in question is allegedly more than P50 million as of January 2014, noting reports that the donations and relief goods solicited for super typhoon victims were reportedly distributed in areas which did not take the brunt of Yolanda’s destructive power, like the towns of Barili, Cordova, Liloan and Dumanjug.

“We are urging the Commission on Audit and the Ombudsman to investigate the seeming misuse of the said donations and relief goods for distribution in non-Yolanda affected areas,” said Garcia.

 Garcia said their lawyers are already gathering affidavits and photos as “damning proof” of what “may be seen as an attempt to buy votes or to give funds to political allies under the guise of distributing relief goods or donations.”

“The timing of the distribution of the relief goods is highly suspicious especially since the election is just about 80 days away and the beneficiaries can be expected to be swayed by this ‘sudden generosity’ by the reelectionists,” he said.

One Cebu reminded Davide and Magpale that the donations were given through the generosity of countries and businesses for those affected by Yolanda and should not be used in politicking.

Meanwhile, Davide was unaffected by his political opponent’s threat, saying what Garcia alleged were baseless.

 “Bring it on!... Where was Garcia pag-Yolanda?” the governor said.

“Some donations were given directly to the towns, some through us. Makita ninyo nga misalig ang foreign government and even foreign private companies sa provincial government; kung si Garcia pa to, di to ipaagi niya,” he said.

Per record from the Provincial Treasurer’s Office, the province received a total of P11 million in cash donations from individuals and groups, both foreign and local.

Of the amount, P4.3 million was donated by the port city of Busan in South Korea.

The FREEMAN tried to ask for a copy of the record on the utilization of donations from the accounting office but was told to write a letter first to the provincial administrator.

The Provincial Information Office assured, though, that it would secure a copy of the utilization record, which was not yet available as of press time yesterday.  — Gregg M. Rubio, Banat NEWS copy editor, and Michael Vencynth H. Braga/RHM



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