THE province of Laguna had P36.38-million fund from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of lawmakers for health and hospital use in 2012, but these monies went stale and not used, the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed.
State auditors bared that Laguna received P41.67 million in 2012 in both General and Trust Funds, but a a morsel of it was only actually used, in spite of a hefty appropriation for the Laguna Provincial Hospital.
Records showed that for the General Fund the province received P27.74 million, while its Trust Fund had P13.93 million.
Out of the P27.74 million, only P1.13 million was used, leaving behind P26.6 million. Meanwhile, only P4.66 million was lessened from the P13.93 million, leaving P9.77 million for available fund.
Annexes of the report showed that the sparsely used monies came from the legislative funds of former Laguna lawmakers Maria Evita Arago, Edgar San Luis and Justin Marc Chipeco.
Other lawmakers who also apportioned their PDAF to the province were: Luzviminda Ilagan (Gabriela), Teodoro Casiño (Bayan Muna), Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis), Ana Theresia Baraquel (Akbayan), Lorenzo Tañada 3rd (Quezon province), Sherwin Tugna (Cibac), Antonio Tinio (Act Teachers), Homer Mercado (1-UTAK), and Walden Bello (Akbayan).
Senator Antonio Trillanes also apportioned his fund.
Earlier issuances from representatives Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales and Emmanuel Joel Villanueva and Senators Loren Legarda, Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Francis Pangilinan were not fully used.
“It was noted that although there were releases for infrastructure projects, the main purpose of PDAF is financial assistance to indigent patients in Laguna Provincial Hospital and its district hospitals,” the report read.
Auditors said that the use of fund was only through guaranty letter but since some of the name officials are no longer part of the Congress, “[the]implementation of the program is not possible.”
“It is evident to note that timely and optimal utilization of the PDAF was not attained, depriving the beneficiaries of the program,” the report noted.
In its reply to the audit, provinicial officers from the treasury and accounting offices said that “there are on-going charges” already to the fund.
The procession of the memorandum of agreement caused the delay in the preparation of disbursement vouchers for the claims against the notoriously reported “pork barrel.”
Also the Laguna officials told the audit team that the P4.63-million fund coming from Pangilinan, Legarda, Zubiri, Gonzales, Casiño and Tugna will be used by the “provinicial governor” for financial assistance to the province, support for indigents for the provincial hospital and the construction of Laguna University, among others.
At present, the Laguna governor is ER Ejercito, who was earlier disqualified by the Commission on Elections, but is on appeal. JOHN CONSTANTINE G. CORDON