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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Commission on Audit (CoA) has reminded the Iloilo provincial government and more than 11,000 volunteer health workers (VHW) to refund the P23.2-million financial assistance given out December 2008.

In its Notice of Disallowance No. 09-011-100 (08) dated November 20, 2009, the audit agency said the financial assistance to VHWs has no legal basis as the provincial government was operating under a reenacted budget.

The office of Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr. received a copy of the notice of disallowance November 23.

The provincial government reenacted the 2007 budget after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) ruled the 2008 annual budget as entirely inoperative.

The grants were given to the volunteer health workers December 2008 after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved Supplemental Budget No. 1 per Appropriation Ordinance No. 2008-08.

The DBM had also declared the grant to VHWs as inoperative since the provincial government was operating on a reenacted budget. Since there was no annual budget, the SP cannot pass a supplemental budget.

The CoA 2008 Annual Audit Report on the Iloilo provincial government also pointed out the same flaw in the release of the VHWs’ allowances.

The CoA provincial office also issued an audit observation memorandum regarding the financial assistance.

CoA also held Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr., Vice Gov. Rolex T. Suplico, the Iloilo provincial board and other Capitol officials liable for releasing the allowances to the VHWs sans legal basis.

A total of 11,659 barangay service point officers, barangay nutrition scholars and barangay health workers received P2,000 each from the Capitol for their allowances.

Gov. Tupas has refused to refund the P23.2 million fund claiming it was released to VHWs in good faith.

Meanwhile, the P23.8-million financial assistance to VHWs for 2009 is still pending with the committee on appropriations of the provincial board.

Tupas had accused his nephew, Vice Gov. Suplico of deliberately delaying the approval of the P180-million Supplemental Budget No. 1 where the assistance is included.

But Suplico debunked his uncle’s claim as he is neither the chairman nor a member of the appropriations committee anymore.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Tupas clan leads other families in the number of kin who will run for various posts in the 2010 elections.

Six Tupases will run for different positions in Iloilo province next year.

Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr. will run for congressman of the 4th congressional district and four of his children and a son-in-law are aiming for various elective posts: Rep. Niel “Jun-Jun” C. Tupas Jr. is seeking reelection in the 5th district, while Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul Tupas is running for Iloilo governor.

Niel C. Tupas III is gunning for the Barotac Viejo mayorship which Raul will vacate while Nielo C. Tupas is eyeing a seat in the Iloilo provincial board representing the 5th district.

Nielex “Lex” C. Tupas is seeking reelection as Iloilo City councilor. Parly Balleza, husband of Nielette “Tweety” Tupas, is running for the Sangguniang Bayan of Banate, Iloilo.

The Tupas regime at the Iloilo provincial capitol has been mired with issues of corruption starting with the overpriced construction of the new Capitol building and the controversial “borrow” pit project of the new Iloilo airport.

Commission on Audit reports have also questioned various transactions of the Capitol such as catering services worth millions of pesos, defective hospital equipment and suppliers with dubious qualifications.

Recently, Gov. Tupas got flak for obviously using government-owned heavy equipment in the construction of his house in Banate, Iloilo. He was also dragged in the bribery of the Iloilo Electric Cooperative (Ileco) 3 directors by an independent power producer.

Aside from the Tupases, other families also fielded their own relatives in their respective turfs.

The Garin family continues to dominate the political landscape of the 1st congressional district. Rep. Jeanette L. Garin is seeking reelection while her husband, Board Member Oscar Richard S. Garin is running for Iloilo vice governor. Mayors Ninfa S. Garin and her daughter Christine S. Garin are also seeking fresh terms in the towns of San Joaquin and Guimbal, respectively.

In the 3rd district, House Majority Floor Leader Arthur D. Defensor Sr. is running for Iloilo governor. His son, Board Member Arthur R. Defensor, will try to replace him as 3rd district congressman.

Rep. Ferjenel G. Biron (Iloilo, 4th district) is also seeking reelection in the 2010 elections while his father, Barotac Nuevo Mayor Hernan Biron Sr. is gunning for his second term. Dumangas Vice Mayor Hernan G. Biron Jr. is seeking a seat in the Iloilo provincial board representing the 4th district.

Iloilo Vice Governor Rolex Tupas Suplico will run against his cousin, Rep. Jun-Jun Tupas in the 5th congressional district.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

IS the 18-year-old lad who filed his candidacy for the Iloilo provincial board under the Liberal Party for real or just a dummy for another candidate?

This, after it was found out that Nonito Pasuelo Jr., incumbent Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation president of Pototan, Iloilo, is too young to run in the 2010 election.

Pasuelo, who filed his certificate of candidacy (CoC) Tuesday, will run for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Iloilo representing the 3rd district. He is running under the Liberal Party led by the party’s gubernatorial bet, Barotac Viejo Mayor Raul Tupas.

Based on Section 39(b) of the Local Government Code of 1991: “Candidates for the position of governor, vice-governor or member of the sangguniang panlalawigan, or mayor, vice-mayor or member of the sangguniang panlungsod of highly urbanized cities must be at least twenty-three (23) years of age on election day.”

Atty. Elizabeth Doronila, Iloilo election supervisor, said anyone who questions Pasuelo’s qualification can file a petition to deny or cancel his candidacy with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) within 25 days after the deadline of the filing of CoCs which is December 1.

Even if no petition to deny due course or to cancel a CoC is filed against any candidate, the Comelec can cancel his or her candidacy if the poll body finds that the candidate did not pass the requirements.

Political observers said Pasuelo might just be a dummy for another Liberal candidate in the 3rd district.

The more serious candidate might replace Pasuelo on or before December 14 which is the deadline for the filing of CoC for substitute bets, based on Comelec Resolution No. 8678 (guidelines on the filing of candidacy and nomination of official candidates of registered political parties).

Pasuelo’s substitute may also replace him midday of election day, May 10, 2010.

The Comelec resolution said the substitute for a candidate who died or suffered permanent incapacity or disqualified by final judgment may file his certificate of candidacy up to mid-day of election day.

Comelec also said that a person who has withdrawn his candidacy for a position shall be no longer be eligible as substitute candidate for any other position after the deadline for COC.

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