DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 Jan) – Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu said he is awaiting the results of the audit report that
traced over P2-billion worth of questionable receipts from the previous Ampatuan administration but which remained unaccounted for.
“We have tapped the provincial engineers’ office and the receipts have been sent to the Commission on Audit (COA). But when we investigated,
the receipts for gasoline, hardware and merchandise weren’t for real,” Mangudadatu said during the forum on “Maguindanao after 11.23:
Building Accountability and Transparency” at the Waterfront Hotel Tuesday.
He said a hardware storeowner who supposedly issued the receipts denied having issued those receipts in the first place, which made the
transaction highly questionable.
Mangudadatu said he asked the Department of Interior and LocalGovernment (DILG) to hasten the release of the report. “(There were
some) P900 million worth of these questionable receipts in one year, but it amounted to more than P2 billion in two years,” Mangudadatu
said. “I am still awaiting the results of the report, which is being coursed through the DILG,” he added.
Mangudadatu assured journalists during the forum that his administration will remain transparent about all its transactions to ward off corruption.
The Maguindanao governor, however, denied he had enticed with some amount of cash the journalists who were killed along with the convoy of relatives and political supporters on November 23 last year. Fifty-eight people, 33 of them media workers, were killed at that time on their way to the capital town of Shariff Aguak to file Mangudadatu’s candidacy to challenge the Ampatuan clan in Maguindanao.
“When media people learned that I will fight the Ampatuans, nabubuhayan sila ng loob (they were relieved),” Mangudadatu recalled
the time before the massacre. “I did not give any single amount to the media people,” he stressed.
He said that slain journalists Andy Teodoro and Manila Bulletin reporter Bong Reblando even hailed his announcement as a piece of “good news.”
Alwyn Alburo, the vice chair of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), had asked Mangudadatu about reports already circulating among local media that cash ranging from P5,000 to P20,000 were dangled to the media to cover Mangudadatu’s filing of candidacy.
(Germelina Lacorte / MindaNews)