By LITO RULONA
and NITZ ARANCON
MISAMIS Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vicente Emano yesterday called the attention of capitol officials and employees named in an audit report to liquidate their cash advances. But another official, provincial board member Gerardo Sabal III, said the cash advances were already liquidated.
The responses of Emano and Sabal came following a Gold Star Daily story on the Commission on Audit’s 2018 report about the capitol’s finances. The COA report shows that the capitol’s cash advances ballooned to P140.227 million under the Emano administration as of December 2018.
“I am assuring the public that all cash advances can be liquidated by the provincial capitol officials and employees by the end of my term. Medyo aduna lamang siguro’y kalangan sa pag-liquidate tungod kay ang kuwarta ila man nga gigamit sa tanang programa dinhi sa kapitolyo,” Emano said.
Emano, who promised in 2013 that there will be no cash advances in the capitol under his watch, said his subordinates resorted to cash advances because the funds were immediately needed for capitol programs and projects.
“Makasalig ang katawhan nga gigamit kini sa insakto, og sakyan unya kini sa politika nga kini nangawala. Let me clearly state that we are still in the process liquidating all the expenses made under our program,” he said.
Emano said the unliquidated cash advances only amount to P18.062 million. The COA report however showed that the unliquidated cash advances reached P140.227 million as of Dec. 31, 2018.
Emano explained that P122.165 million of the cash advances were made before he became governor.
“Nagpatong-patong na kini nga unsettled cash advances og midako kay kami naka-cash advance man pud but for programs like the Kuyamis Festival, and others,” he said.
At least four people were named in the COA report as having been granted cash advances in 2018: Luis Buot III of the Provincial Engineer’s Office, provincial tourism officer Jeffrey Saclot, Barlisan Belly of the Provincial Budget Office, Jener Alaba of the capitol’s barangay affairs office, and provincial budget officer Claudita Baliton.
Emano said the COA report could be exploited by politicians opposed to his administration and use it for a smear campaign.
“They can always check og duna sila’y mga pagduda pwede sila makapanumbong sa ombudsman,” said Emano.
Meanwhile, provincial board member Sabal said the capitol officials and employees in the COA report have already liquidated their cash advances.
“Dili man musugot si Gov. Emano nga maka-cash advance ang iyang mga department head kon dili ma-liquidate kadtong ilang unang na-cash advance,” he said.
Sabal also said there is nothing wrong with making cash advances in government, and the practice is unavoidable because there are instances when funds are needed immediately.