Citing Bel-Air again as an example, the Times’ own computation showed that a barangay could spend more money in contracts that skip the required bidding process.
A 15-page Annual Procurement Plan of Barangay Bel-Air which was prepared by Janny Pacleb, supply officer, and recommended for approval by Roswinda Bautista, treasurer, showed that from January to December 2013, village officials lined up 165 budget items.
The procurement plan, a copy of which was obtained by the Times, has a total cost of P85.8 million for the entire year.
Like other villages, Bel-Air applies four modes of procurement, namely: direct or negotiated contract, “shopping,” bidding and cash advance.
The 165 line items are broken down into the following: direct or negotiated contract, 52 items; shopping, 73; bidding, 33; and cash advance, 7.
The Times found that Bel-Air’s procurement through direct or negotiated contract totaled P45 million, or 53 percent of its P85.8 million budget.
Procurement through regular bidding only accounts for P31 million, or roughly 36 percent of the total appropriation.
“Shopping” items account for only 8 percent of the budget at P6 million. Items to be procured through cash advances made up only one percent of total.
Included in the projects for “bidding” is the P1.4 million for “Catering Services.”
Another interesting entry under the “food” item is the P744,000 budget for “meal allowance of Police” also referred to as “Barkadahan.”
It was not immediately known if Two Chefs had won the bidding for the catering services and meal provisions for policemen this year.
Other big ticket items in Bel-Air’s procurement plan include P1.4 million for Pasinaya;
P10 million for garbage collection; P4.6 million for the installation of closed circuit television cameras; and P3 million for asphalting.
All these budget items were to undergo the bidding process.
In the past elections, the village chairman was suspected of having allowed “flying” voters to cast their ballots in Lichauco’s precinct.
Another set of documents shows that 43 people are listed as residents in Lichauco’s house on 17 Aquarius Street, Bel-Air.
Even the parish priest of Saint Andrew, Roberto Orendain Gaa, is listed as a resident at the same address.
Moreover, it was learned that the building which houses the barangay hall—40 Solar Street— serves as home to 30 voters.
Records indicate that 42 other people live at Lichauco’s home address.
Under “clusters 116, 117 and 118,” the following are listed as residents of 17 Aquarius: Virginia Junio, Edilberto Murillo, Jaquelyn Ortiz, Leonardo Paguinto, Antonio Sambayan, Dexter Serdena, Francis Anthony Warren, Albino Pallino, Mildred Warren, Ma. Analyn Sambayan, Roberto Gaa, Danilo Saragoza, July Jcee Ortiz, Whilmar Allas, Irishmae Flores, Lorenzo Malatag, Reyjilin Melgar, Rhea Melgar, Sonny Nazario,Jcee Ann Ortiz, Cheryl Pingoy, Anthony Sambayan, Celedonia Sambayan, Junamae Vidal, Ardine Adriano, Kristine Bobis, Efigenia Sangco, Danilo Canta, Neriza Doria, Reynaldo Junio, Violeta Castro, Rosalie Garcia, Mergyl Caing, Merlita Emejas, Maricar Barte, Percival Baldonado, Giovani Bautista Jr., Melba Dumlao, Elenita Francisco, Vicente Francisco III, Juliet Odas, and Elmer Callada.
On the other hand, 40 Solar Street, which is a part of the village hall, has 30 residents: Leonardo Bayonito, Felipe Aquino, Antonio Cabral, Elemer Canta, Peter Comaya, Fermly Condez, Armando Dungca, Eden Faderogao, Alejandro jalandoni, Renato Saltat, Ronaldo Santos, Elmer Callada, Elaine Flores, Wilfredo Juntoria, Emelita Rufin, Salvador Baquiran, Sir Henry Carumay II, Jimmy Celoso, Josephine Marquez, Mark Anthony regalado, Danilo Vivit, Felicito berry Jr., Carlo Cabido, Regie Cahilig, Fortunato Fortuno, Francisco Pedragosa, Loida Salas, Renalyn Salazar and Lea Villanueva.
Bel-Air, whose budget comes to about P200 million annually, is definitely among the wealthiest of villages. But the issues involving its officials are common among other problematic villages in the country.
Like any other barangay, its funds come from Real Property Tax (RPT) payments, while the sources of income include clearances, IRA, Community Tax Certificate (CTC) payments and other miscellaneous sources such as interest from investments and payment of IDs.
The share of Barangay Bel-Air from the property tax makes up 30 percent of the barangay’s RPT. Half of the amount goes to Barangay Bel-Air while the other half is distributed equally among the other villages in the city.
Barangay share in the city’s IRA constitute 20 percent and each share is allocated on the basis of the following formula: population – 60 percentand equal sharing – 40 percent.
Ten percent of the barangay’s general fund goes to the Sangguniang Kabataan.
But by being among the richest and most affluent, this gated village serves as proof of how prone to abuse the IRA system is, in the same manner that the pork barrel has gained notoriety.
But public funds are not naturally “evil.” People are, driven by what researchers say are shared “feelings of entitlement and inattention to the consequences of one’s actions on others” that may play into their moral decisions.
In the end, it may indeed be both statistically and morally correct to believe that, like what experts say, poor people may be less likely to cheat because they are more dependent on their community at large.