Ex-Guiguinto officials in trouble for giving away 37 iPads
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) held liable several former municipal officials of Guiguinto, Bulacan, after they gave away iPads as gifts to several municipal employees and government graduate scholars for "exemplary services."
The distribution of 37 units of the iPad 2 cost the local government a total of P747,478.81 back in 2012. These iPads were given away on the authority of former Guiguinto, Bulacan mayor Isagani Pascual.
Municipal officials said the iPads were given to 23 municipal government graduate scholars, 4 enrollees at the Kolehiyo ng Guiguinto, and 10 municipal employees who delivered "exemplary services."
The gifts were meant to "enhance economic prosperity, social justice, and to promote the comfort and convenience of inhabitants and their general welfare."
In 2013, the resident auditor issued a notice of disallowance for the purchase and distribution of the iPads.
This notice of disallowance underwent review by the COA Commission Proper.
In a decision dated September 6 this year, and released last Friday, October 13, COA Chairman Michael Aguinaldo and commissioners Jose Fabia and Isabel Agito upheld the notice of disallowance.
They said that the distribution of the gadgets was not a valid project, adding that it does not fall under the definition of "social services" or "public purposes."
"Under COA Circular No. 2012-003 dated October 29, 2012, purchase of high-end or expensive models/brands of electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, desktops, laptops, etc is considered unnecessary expenditures," COA said.
Pascual, municipal administrator Maria Nieves Roque, municipal accountant Maria Teresa Jose, officer-in-charge municipal treasurer Flordeliza Cruz, and members of the Municipal Bids and Awards Committee were ordered to reimburse the municipal government the amount of the distributed iPads.
State auditors also noted that the municipal government had incurred a cash deficit of P50.85 million as of the end of 2012, so it was not in a position to give away such high-end gadgets. – Rappler.com