Labella demands liquidation from barangays

CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella has decided to withhold the P5 million in cash assistance to the barangays that failed to liquidate the financial aid they received in the previous years.

The local executive, however, would disburse the cash aid only if the Commission on Audit (COA) allows it.

In 2019, the City allocated a total of P400 million for the cash assistance to 80 barangays. Each village is set to receive P5 million.

Labella has directed Jerone Castillo of the City Treasurer’s Office (CTO) to coordinate with the COA, and seek the state auditors’ opinion on releasing the financial aid to the barangays with the new leaders signing an undertaking.

He said one of the City’s options is to file a complaint against former village chiefs who were not able to liquidate the cash aid they had received.

Having a hard time

In an earlier report, Inayawan Barangay Captain Kirk Bryan Repollo said newly elected barangay captains, especially the first-termers, were having a hard time in liquidating the cash aid that their predecessors had received from the City.

Repollo said his predecessor failed to account for the financial assistance. Repollo is an ally of former mayor Tomas Osmeña.

During Osmeña’s time, the barangay captains were required to submit to the City an approved barangay resolution stating the project whose cost is to be defrayed by the P5 million and a letter request stating the project approved in the resolution.

Labella’s requirement

After replacing Osmeña as mayor, Labella has required the barangay captains to submit letters that state they had demanded an explanation from their predecessors who failed to submit a liquidation.

The new village chiefs were advised to file a complaint before the Ombudsman if their predecessors fail to respond to the demand letter.

In a press conference on Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, Labella said the unliquidated cash aid should be addressed. He has instructed the CTO to come up with a solution, and one is for the barangay captains to submit an undertaking.

“I will call a meeting (to discuss) if there is a way to give them (the cash aid) without necessarily violating the rules and regulations of the COA,” he said.

Rama’s opinion

For his part, Vice Mayor Michael Rama said the current village chiefs should not be the ones to suffer from the lapses that the previous barangay leaders had committed.

He said the barangay captains should be provided with the cash aid, without giving them a hard time. The budget, Rama said, should be used for the benefit of the residents.

No politics

Labella said that there is “no politicking” in the release of the cash assistance to the barangays.

“Without discrimination, everyone will be given,” he said.

Labella said there were a number of barangay captains allied with Osmeña who already received their cash assistance. (JJL)