The alleged overpricing of the project was one of the issues tackled by radio commentator Ferdinand Lintuan before he was killed on December 24, raising speculations that the mayor had a hand in the killing.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte denied the allegations and urged the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Audit to initiate an investigation on the alleged overprice in the project, vowing that "if they see anything overpriced by 10 pesos, I will resign and swear not to run for office again."
Duterte took a leave pending the investigation.
Atty. Alfredo Reyes, COA Mindanao cluster head, said they found no overpricing in the procurement of materials for the park and instead found a decrease in the procurement amount.
The audit also found no vouchers for purchase of trees. Duterte had alleged the trees were donated by the private sector.
"There (was) no impropriety. Walang kaduda-duda na procurement at lahat ay (There is no doubt that the procurement and everything is) in accordance with the law and expenditures," Reyes told reporters.
Reyes also said that the "issue is whether or not the disbursement of the city government was in accordance with the rules and regulation" and "if it is in parallel with the architect's perspective."
The COA investigation covers the 90% completed portion of the park. The remaining 10% — the perimeter fence, durian dome and the surveillance system – has yet to be completed.
Reyes said COA has audited 50 to 70 vouchers amounting to P50 million.
Reyes said a team of four, including himself, did the audit for a month, including Saturdays and Sundays.
The move of the mayor to take a leave pending their investigation was hailed by Reyes as a "nice gesture on the part of the mayor." He said other chief executives they audit, are usually at his door, "giving me the dagger look." (MindaNews)