Baloloy linked to irregular Makati deals in 90s – COA
MANILA, Philippines – Eduviges Baloloy was already linked to irregularities involving government funds way back in 1990 when Makati was still a municipality.
Government auditors stopped her from reimbursing political expenses of the administration under then Mayor Jejomar Binay. At the time, transactions involved reimbursements for the purchase of flowers and funeral wreaths that cost anywhere from P6,550 and P14,970, information from the Commission on Audit (COA) showed.
It was Baloloy and Lisandra Reyes, who were then acting as executive assistants in the Office of the Mayor, who tried to get the funds reimbursed.
COA said the amounts were “excessive, extravagant, and unnecessary” but this was refuted by Binay's office which countered that memorial flowers were “beneficial to the interest of public service” since they helped demonstrate sympathy.
Binay's office even cited a September 1991 ruling of the Supreme Court which said that burial assistance in the form of cash given to families left behind by dead Makati residents was a legitimate expense item. The wreaths or flowers given for wakes was justified by the local government which said they were part of their functions and was no different from giving away cash assistance.
The COA however was unconvinced and said that documents submitted to support the liquidation raised suspicions – including erasures and discrepancy over supposed beneficiaries.
The Commission said “the invoices were noted to bear erasures which would readily show that the flowers were purchased for other purposes and not for the deceased constituents of Makati as claimed by certain officials/employees of the said municipality.”
Ten unaltered copies of invoices reviewed by auditors showed the purchase of flowers were meant for “mass”, “Monday mass”, “Friday mass”, or “Rizal Day”. These were later erased, and the wreaths or flowers were diverted to constituents instead.
There were 10 invoices listed by the COA with unspecified amounts.
Auditors said such modifications made the purchases more “personal in nature” than official. This means the money should not come from taxpayers.
The COA said “the giving of wreath/memorial flowers to the deceased constituents of Makati is personal in nature, especially considering the fact that subject expenditures do not redound to the benefit of the people of Makati in general as the expenses would benefit only a few residents." As such, the claim for reimbursements was disallowed. – Rappler.com