How we all lost 5 billion pesos (Part II)
(Second of two parts)
(The City government purchased some P8.3 billion of power from April 2004 to 2012. It recorded payment of around P5.4 billion. These data are official records of the Commission on Audit. Click this link to read the First part.)
Curiously, in 2011, the city officials only booked the amount of P701,119,896.12 as unpaid obligations to PSALM for the same period (2004-2011). Why did the city officials put P700M in debt, even though the Commission on Audit (COA) already said that we owe PSALM 2.9 billion as of 2011? This is something that former mayor Bong Gordon, his finance officers, and allied in the city council need to explain.
The previous administration could not hide the problem. Not even with the cooperation of everyone in the city hall. Outside city hall officials and employees, can you list the names of people who denied, refused to answer, or did nothing, despite knowing the problem? Maybe you can share it in the comment box below.
Apparently, the Napocor books were straight enough that it forced the city to adjust the amount to reflect, and acknowledge, the P2,959,128,256.82 debt.
COA noted that the P2.9 billion debt excluded interests, penalties, and other charges by PSALM. And this was in 2011.
Throughout 2012, the city government, with the help of some media outlets, insisted that there is no debt. And that “politics, because of the 2013 elections,” was the motivation of some politicians.
I covered the city council session in 2012, but only a handful admitted that the city was drowning in debt.
Was there a syndicated silence involving not only by city employees, but more importantly, by elected officials? This, despite the fact that the COA has already issued its report detailing the ballooning debt?
When cornered, majority of the councilors hid behind their so called “legislative, not executive function.” Meaning, they were not aware of the power debt, because they were not involved in the “operations” of PUD. And during the 2010 and 2013 election campaigns, most Team Gordon members insisted that the power debt was a figment of the opposition’s imagination.
The only Team Gordon candidate to openly admit the power debt was then councilor, now vice mayor, Rodel Cerezo. The rest either denied it, or feigned ignorance. Maybe that is why he won the vice mayor post.
Still, the COA report released in 2013 showed that the city purchased power from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and PSALM to the tune of P1,329,377,254.57, but paid only P793,520,889.72.
The power debt shot up another P535,856,364.85, pushing the total power debt to P3,464,412,420.36 by the end of 2012.
Now that we know how the debt ballooned, and how scores of public officials tried hard (but failed) to deny its existence, what is the next question that come to mind?