City Hall starts fact-finding on CSWDO rice releases


THE Iloilo City Hall started the fact-finding on the alleged illegal release and distribution of City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) rice using government vehicle, according to City Legal Officer Lorna Laurea.

Laurea told City Hall reporters that the fact-finding investigation commenced afternoon of May 26, 2017 with the sending of invitations to the main resource persons – CSWDO head Alfredo Villanueva and CSWDO driver, Edwin Florendo and lawyer Joan Montaño, the head of Ad Hoc Committee Physical Inventory Team.

“We will just ask questions to find out first if indeed that incident happened; if it happened, who are the persons involved, who might be the same persons that can be held accountable,” said Laurea in Hiligaynon.

Montaño, who is also the city’s Internal Affairs Office head, will be asked of the results of the physical inventory.

The CSWDO is under fire after its vehicles allegedly delivering government rice to commercial establishment were photographed.

The sacks of rice are intended for the feeding program of Day Care Centers in the metro.

An Ad Hoc Committee was created by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to conduct the investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations as suggested in the photos.

Laurea said with the questioning of the resource speakers, the committee expects names to surface if indeed there was anomaly in the movement of rice stocks.

On the other hand, Laurea said the City Hall cannot compel the person/s who took the photos to come out in the open, as well as the commercial establishments where the sacks of rice were allegedly delivered.

“We cannot compel them to attend the fact-finding investigation,” said Laurea. She added that the photos are not the only basis as the team can gather other evidences.

“But if they are involved and they do not avail of the opportunity to be investigated by us, and we decide to file cases, they could be included in the case; whereas, if they attend the investigation and shed light on the issue, then, maybe their names will be cleared,” she stressed.

Laurea assured the investigating team is open-minded; however, she urged those who have idea of the incident to come up and squeal to know who are involved, if the allegations indeed happened.

The fact-finding investigation is not open to the public.

The Ad Hoc Committee will come out with a recommendatory result to be submitted to the mayor.

The City Legal Office, on its part, will file criminal and administrative charges to the erring personnel if warranted.

Laurea said the team has set no timeline yet as it will depend on the initial questioning and on how many persons will be invited.

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