NorthCot gov uncovers millions in unliquidated cash advances, ‘suspicious’ loan payables

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/03 July) — Cotabato Governor Lala Taliño-Mendoza has ordered an immediate suspension of travel by provincial officials and employees who are yet to liquidate cash advances amounting to P40 million.

North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou "Lala" Taliño-Mendoza. Mindanews File PhotoMendoza has ordered too the recall of all vehicles issued to government officials who lost in the May 10 elections.

At least four vehicles were still in the hands of former officials.

Menoza also said she uncovered what she described as suspicious loan payables amounting to P98 million.

Some of the payables were dated as early as 2000.

The more than P93 million cash in bank could not be verified by the records of deposits and collections of the provincial government, Mendoza said.

The governor added she has tasked the transition team to review the staffing pattern of the provincial government.

She said there are some 700 job order and casual employees in the provincial government.

Their salaries and other personnel services eat up some 27 percent of the total budget for the province, she noted.

She told the job order and casual employees whose terms ended on June 30 to submit their resignation.

Mendoza also ordered an inventory of government equipment.

In particular, she wanted to know what happened to a brand new backhoe rented by the Tulunan Agri-Ventures Inc. (TAVI) as early as 2008.

Former vice governor Emmanuel Pinol who ran against Mendoza in May 2010 is reportedly one of the stockholders of the TAVI. Pinol could not be reached for comment.

The governor was told the backhoe was burned by the armed men who attacked the TAVI plantation in Barangay Kanebong in Tulunan, North Cotabato in May 2009.

“The backhoe was brand new. I was told it was burned by the armed men. Who would be held responsible for that? Who will pay for the damage? The backhoe was purchased through taxpayers’ money,” she said.

“I will do this hands-on. I will supervise this until I get good results,” she said.

“We want to pursue sound financial and economic governance here. We will make those responsible in this mess accountable for their actions,” she added.

She started to do the ‘hands-on’ supervision of the financial audit and performance evaluation of the employees, days after she was proclaimed winner in the May 10 gubernatorial race.

Mendoza won by more than 30 thousand votes against Pinol. Her opponent alleged she cheated in the elections.

At 38, she became the youngest governor of North Cotabato since 1986.

She started his political career as the chair of the Federation of the Sangguniang Kabataan in North Cotabato in the early 1990s. She became a senior member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and served for three terms as the representative of the province’s first district. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)